There’s nothing Little League about Gleyber Torres or the Yankees these days.
The second baseman homered and knocked in all five runs in the Yankees 5-3 win over the Blue Jays in The Bronx on Wednesday — their third straight victory.
Before the game, general manager Brian Cashman called the Yankees’ white-hot first month of the season “a nice start so far. Nothing more than that.”
Maybe, but the Yankees are beginning to display some staying power. They have 15 wins in their last 17 games, moved to 6-3 versus Toronto and improved their MLB best record to 22-8.
“We’ve played really good baseball,” Torres said. “I don’t want to say something wrong like ‘We are the best right now,’ because things change so fast. We’ll be humble and do what we do every [day].”
Aroldis Chapman provided some drama in the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Santiago Espinal, a wild pitch and then a walk to pinch-hitter Vinny Capra. Chapman got George Springer to fly out to right — scoring Espinal.
Bo Bichette turned on a slider and just missed a game-tying homer to left, which landed foul, before Chapman struck him out swinging. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. popped out to end the game, as Chapman got the save in his latest “bend, but don’t break” outing.
The win was propelled by Torres, who had a three-run homer in the fourth inning and a two-run single in the sixth.
It was his fourth homer in 11 games and the latest indication that Torres might at least be approaching the level of play he showed in 2018 and 2019.
“My confidence is back and that is the most important thing for me,” said Torres, who has a slash line of .222/.258/.444, with five homers and 18 RBIs. “Last year was a struggle for me. After the season, I saw so many videos and worked in the cage and now all of the work can show up at the plate.”
The Yankees also got another solid performance from a starting pitcher, with Jameson Taillon allowing just a pair of runs in 5 ¹/₃ innings.
After Luis Severino got off to a rough start Tuesday, giving up three runs in the first two innings — and needing 65 pitches to do so — before settling down, Taillon loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the first.
Following a visit from pitching coach Matt Blake, the right-hander retired the next three batters — although Teoscar Hernandez’s sacrifice fly gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in Taillon’s 27-pitch opening frame.
The Yankees’ offense didn’t get going against Jose Berrios until there was one out in the fourth.
Anthony Rizzo beat out an infield single and smartly moved to third on DJ LeMahieu’s base hit to center.
With runners on the corners, Torres — after hitting his homer to the short porch that Texas manager Chris Woodward referred to as “Little League” on Sunday — delivered another short-porch homer to right. This one came on an 0-2 pitch and gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
Taillon gave up a run in the sixth, but it could have been worse.
With runners on first and third, Taillon was replaced by Michael King, who was coming off his lone poor performance of the season. Matt Chapman’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2.
Espinal then hit a grounder to shortstop and Isiah Kiner-Falefa dropped the backhanded play. He alertly picked up the ball and tossed it to second and Torres tagged Alejandro Kirk, who came off the base, to end the inning.
The Yankees got to Berrios again in the bottom of the sixth, when Rizzo walked with one out and LeMahieu doubled to right-center.
Trevor Richards came on to face Torres, who delivered a two-run single to center to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead.
After King allowed a pair of singles, he was replaced by Clay Holmes with one out in the seventh to face Guerrero. Holmes fell behind 3-1, but got Guerrero to hit into an inning-ending double play and the Yankees didn’t look back.
“It’s early, but I’m very excited with where we’re at,” LeMahieu said.