CLEVELAND -- The Indians answered the Yankees' early lead in Friday's Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, but they might have lost their most potent hitter in the process. Edwin Encarnacion left the game -- which the Tribe won, 9-8, on a walk-off single by Yan Gomes in the 13th inning -- in the opening frame with a right ankle sprain after scrambling back to second base on a double play. Cleveland has a 2-0 series lead.
An MRI exam confirmed a sprain, Indians manager Terry Francona said afterward.
"The severity of it, it's going to depend on how he feels," Francona said. "Right now they say he's day to day, which if that's the case, that would be tremendous."
According to a tweet by ESPN's Buster Olney, Encarnacion was on crutches and in a walking boot as he left the Indians' clubhouse, and he departed on a cart. The slugger had a suitcase and a backpack with him.
The Tribe scored twice in the bottom of the first on Carlos Santana's two-run single. Encarnacion, hit by a CC Sabathia fastball three pitches earlier, advanced to second on Santana's single and was hoping to put Cleveland in front when Jay Bruce hit a line drive up the middle. However, shortstop Didi Gregorius was waiting for the liner, then made a diving attempt to tag second as Encarnacion scrambled for the base.
Replay showed Encarnacion's ankle turn as he jammed his foot against the bag. While a review reversed the initial safe call, resulting in an inning-ending double play, Encarnacion remained down in clear pain as he called for the Indians' medical staff.
Encarnacion started the game at designated hitter, so the Tribe didn't have to worry about a replacement until his spot in the order came back up. The way Cleveland was hitting, though, that spot came up the next inning, when Michael Brantley -- held out of the lineup while he recovers from a right ankle ligament injury -- hit for Encarnacion.
Before the game, Francona said Brantley could be available to start Game 3 tonight at Yankee Stadium depending on how he feels during a Saturday workout. If Encarnacion is sidelined, the Indians could use Brantley at DH and limit the wear and tear to batting and baserunning.
"We'll see how he shows up [for Saturday's workout at Yankee Stadium]," Francona said. "We obviously don't want to rush into putting him on [the disabled list], so we'll see how he does."
Cleveland could put Encarnacion on the DL and open a roster spot for another player, such as infielder Yandy Diaz. If the Indians did, though, Encarnacion would be ineligible not just for the rest of the ALDS, but the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World as well if they advance. The soonest he'd be able to return would be the World Series.
Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.