NEW YORK -- For two weeks now, Gleyber Torres has been in the Major Leagues with the Yankees. For two weeks now, the Yankees have been winning games, day after day, night after night.Call it The Gleyber Effect if you want, or just point out the Yankees have lost only
NEW YORK -- For two weeks now, Gleyber Torres has been in the Major Leagues with the Yankees. For two weeks now, the Yankees have been winning games, day after day, night after night.
Call it The Gleyber Effect if you want, or just point out the Yankees have lost only one game since he showed up. And point out that it was Torres' three-run, walk-off home run that extended the run Sunday at Yankee Stadium, giving the Yankees a 7-4 win over the Indians.
• Boone: All of Gleyber Torres' tools 'really good'
The Yankees swept away the Indians over the weekend. They've won six in a row and 15 of 16, starting from the day before Torres' April 22 debut. They've done it against the Twins, Astros and Indians -- the three teams they met in the playoffs last October -- as well as the Angels, the team leading the American League West.
"This team is super-awesome," Torres said Sunday, and no one was going to argue with him.
The 21-year-old second baseman has been pretty good himself, and when he sent a Dan Otero pitch rocketing over the center-field fence with one out in the ninth inning, he made Yankee history, becoming the youngest player in franchise history (21 years, 144 days) to hit a walk-off home run. In doing so he surpassed Mickey Mantle, who was 41 days older when he did it against the Red Sox in 1953.
Torres also made two more fine defensive plays Sunday, helping fellow rookie Domingo German get through six hitless innings in his first Major League start. German was brilliant, but he left after six because of his pitch count, and the Indians took a 4-0 eighth-inning lead against the Yankees' bullpen.
No problem, as it turned out, because the Yankees scored three times in the bottom of the eighth and four more in the ninth. Neil Walker's double off Cody Allen tied the game and set up Torres for his big moment.
The kid took it from there, working the count to 3-1 before fouling off one sinker and then getting another he could handle. Torres wasn't sure he hit it far enough to go out, but the ball carried 415 feet, according to Statcast™, with a 104.4-mph exit velocity.
Manager Aaron Boone, who said the day Torres arrived that he wasn't sure the top prospect had any "wow" skills, said Sunday he has now seen it.
"He did 'wow' me," Boone said. "I think the intangible thing is maybe the off-the-chart [skill] he has. It seems the bigger the moment, the better he is. He didn't even flinch. That's just a big-boy, mature at-bat from a good hitter. And he hammered that ball."
He gave the Yankees a win in a game they easily could have lost, after they managed just one hit in 7 1/3 innings against Indians starter Mike Clevinger. Clevinger did walk two of the three batters he faced in the eighth, and an Indians bullpen that is without injured ex-Yankee Andrew Miller couldn't take it from there.
Eventually it came down to Torres, and the kid won it. The Yankees had their 15th win in 16 games, matching their best stretch since 1961 (they also went 15-1 during September 1980).
They did it with a win worth remembering.
"To win games like this is integral to winning a division," Walker said.
The Yankees are winning nearly every game these days. It's been this way for two weeks, ever since Torres arrived.
It hasn't all been because of him. Sunday, though, it was his hit that did it.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sterling at the keystone: In his entire Minor League career, Torres played 14 games at second base. He made his 15th Major League start at the position Sunday, and made two fine plays to keep German's innings hitless. Torres went to his right on a Michael Brantley ground ball to start the second inning, then far to his left on a Tyler Naquin grounder to end the fifth.
"He's shown good range at second base," Boone said Sunday morning. "More range than I anticipated, frankly."
German became the first Yankee to leave after pitching at least six hitless innings since Phil Hughes, who went 6 1/3 on May 1, 2007, in Texas but departed with a pulled hamstring. The last Yankee no-hitter was David Cone's perfect game against the Expos in 1999.
German was the first pitcher since the mound was moved to 60 feet, six inches in 1893 to throw at least six hitless innings with at least nine strikeouts in his first career start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He was the first Yankee since Hideki Irabu in 1997 to strike out at least nine in his first start, and the first Yankee ever to go at least six innings without allowing a hit in his first start.
The Red Sox come to Yankee Stadium for the first time this season, with the two rivals sitting atop the American League East. Right-hander Luis Severino (5-1, 2.11 ERA) gets the start in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET series opener against left-hander Thomas Pomeranz (1-1, 6.14 ERA).
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.