NEW YORK -- Gleyber Torres had already enjoyed a memorable afternoon by the time he pounced on a spinning fourth-inning slider on Wednesday evening, walloping his third home run of the day toward Yankee Stadium's left-center-field loading dock.
With that swing, it became an unforgettable trip to the office for Torres, who joined Joe DiMaggio as the youngest Yankees to enjoy a three-homer day. The 22-year-old’s performance helped Domingo Germán become the Majors' first eight-game winner in a 3-1 victory over the Orioles, completing a doubleheader sweep.
"It's really good," Torres said. "In a doubleheader, we felt really tired in the second game for sure, but you just focus and do the job to help the team. I think there's no better feeling than when you do the job and you help your team."
After Torres mashed a pair of homers in the first game, a 5-3 New York victory, the infielder launched a deep drive off Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner in the nightcap. The Yankees (26-16) moved a season-high 10 games above .500, having won 20 of their last 27 games, and they pulled to within a half-game of the first-place Rays in the American League East ahead of a three-game series vs. Tampa Bay this weekend.
"It’s big," manager Aaron Boone said. "I thought the energy the guys came out with in the first game was excellent. A lot of guys contributed again today."
DiMaggio is the only other Yankee to homer three times in a day at age 22 or younger, according to STATS. The Yankee Clipper did it twice -- in a 1936 doubleheader and in a three-homer game in 1937.
Torres has eight homers this season, and six have come off Baltimore pitching. He acknowledged that his right elbow continues to feel sore from a hit-by-pitch on Friday, but it clearly did not affect him at the plate.
"I'm still a contact hitter," Torres said, with a laugh. "I think the key is to prepare in my offseason. I worked really hard. I just want to continue what I did last year. I'm just focused on doing my job and trying to be consistent, and try to help."
Meanwhile, German continued his emergence into one of the AL’s top young hurlers, striking out eight and limiting Baltimore to a run as he matched his career high with seven innings pitched.
German became the first Yankee with eight wins through the team’s first 42 games since Tommy John opened the 1979 season with a 9-0 record.
"It feels good that I'm getting the job done, but at the same time, this doesn't mean that I take my foot off the pedal," German said through a translator. "The job at hand is much bigger and concentration is key. It feels good, but at the same time, we have more work to be done."
Hanser Alberto’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly accounted for the only damage against the 26-year-old German, who scattered six hits and issued one walk. German threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 27 batters he faced.
"He has the feel and throw that should lend itself to being a guy who has command," Boone said. "He’s capable of that, and I think he’s cleaned himself up just a little bit in subtle ways in his delivery. It lends itself to having better command, especially as he tires."
German was supported in part by Luke Voit, who snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a run-scoring double in the third inning. Voit added an RBI single in the seventh off Shawn Armstrong, part of a three-hit performance.
"I never worry about confidence; Luke knows he can hit," Boone said. "I know I wear it out, but when he controls the zone and gets his good swing off, he can be lethal."
Unlike in the first game, when veteran J.A. Happ was lifted after 5 1/3 innings and 64 pitches, Boone trusted his promising starter to guard a one-run lead through a troublesome and fatiguing seventh inning.
Two singles and a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter Pedro Severino loaded the bases, but Boone opted to extend the leash on German, who induced Joey Rickard to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
"That whole inning was a big experience for me," German said. "I'm very happy that he allowed me to pitch through that inning. I think it's probably the first time in my career that I went into a game [in the late innings] where it was a small lead, winning by one run. It was great, just to be allowed to get out of that inning and fight through it. I'm glad he did."
"It's a really good way to head into the off-day," Boone said, "when you can put two wins in your pocket."