Yankees’ Gleyber Torres Upstages himself with Walk-off Homer
Gleyber Torres’s first major league home run, a three-run, was overshadowed by an ending in the Yankees’ win. Two days later, he made sure nothing would minimize his second homer.
Torres, the Yankees’ much-acclaimed 21-year-old second baseman, came up with two men on and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, and then sent a slider from Dan Otero over the center-field wall. The home run propelled the streaking Yankees to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland , their 15th win in the last 16 games.
“That’s a big-boy, mature at-bat from a mature hitter,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “He hammered that ball.”
Torres’s homer capped a game in which a combined no-hitter, with Domingo German as the anchor, seemed quite possible. That all unraveled with Dellin Betances on the mound in the eighth inning, but the Yankees did overcome a 4-0 deficit to capture the game and secure a three-game sweep.
No Yankee team, including the franchise’s last five World Series-winning squads, has had a 16-game stretch like this since the 1980 Yankees, who won 103 games but lost to the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs.
Allen, who ran his pitch count up to 32, was finally chased from the game in the ninth after Aaron Hicks and Walker doubled to even the score. In came Otero, who got Andujar to ground out. Otero then walked Giancarlo Stanton intentionally to pitch to Torres.
On Friday, when Torres went deep in the fourth inning, he became the youngest Yankee to hit a home run since 20-year-old John Ellis did in 1969. But the Yankees relinquished a five-run lead in that game and needed to win it in the ninth inning on Andujar single.
Torres said he had never hit a walk-off home run at any level of baseball. But on the sixth pitch of his at-bat, he drove an 88-mile-per-hour slider from Otero into the Yankees’ bullpen, just a few feet from where Chapman was warming up.
In doing so, he became the youngest Yankee to hit a game-ending homer, surpassing Mickey Mantle, who was 41 days older when he did it in 1953.
As Torres circled the bases, looking like a 10-year veteran, Chapman, whom the Yankees re-signed in free agency before last season, raised his arms in victory, something the Yankees have been doing with an almost inevitable regularity the last two weeks.
Torres said he was happy to help his team and did not seem overwhelmed by the moment. After all, in the last three games, he’s already had two big moments.