NEW YORK -- In a meeting between two of this season's most exciting rookies, Gleyber Torres outshone Shohei Ohtani. The Yankees newcomer became the youngest player in American League history to homer in four consecutive games on Friday night, belting a go-ahead seventh-inning blast to carry the Yankees past the
NEW YORK -- In a meeting between two of this season's most exciting rookies, Gleyber Torres outshone Shohei Ohtani. The Yankees newcomer became the youngest player in American League history to homer in four consecutive games on Friday night, belting a go-ahead seventh-inning blast to carry the Yankees past the Angels, 2-1.
Torres has gone deep in five of his past six contests, including a barreled seventh-inning drive off reliever Jim Johnson that carried over the right-field fence for the wunderkind's ninth big league homer -- all of which have come in Torres' past 16 games.
"I'm not a home run guy; I'm a contact guy," Torres said. "But I feel pretty good right now. I helped the team and I feel great for that. I feel great because I helped the team and we won. That's what's most important."
According to Elias Sports, Torres (21 years, 163 days) became the fourth-youngest player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to homer in four straight games. The others: Jose Cabrera in 2004 (20, 362); Andruw Jones in 1998 (21, 139); and Jose Pujols in 2001 (21, 147).
"I've had that conversation with him where he says, 'I've been preparing for this my whole life,' and certainly the last couple of years coming up in the Minor Leagues," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I think he just plays the game with a lot of confidence. I think his intelligence is very evident. When you combine intelligence and instincts and talent, you're looking at what has been a very special player for us."
While Ohtani's first career game in the Bronx resulted in three hitless at-bats and a walk, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year offered two reminders of why opponents would be wise not to run on his gifted right arm. Aaron Judge came up firing to throw out Kole Calhoun at home plate in the third inning and Martin Maldonado at second base in the seventh, limiting traffic on the basepaths for Yankees hurlers.
"It's fun," Judge said. "As an outfielder, that's what you live for -- moments like that. Runners on in a big situation, getting a chance to throw a guy out, you hear the crowd getting excited. That's fun. Don't overthink it. Don't think about pressure. Just go out there and have fun and make a play. What's the worst thing that could happen?"
Torres drove in both Yankees runs, having also knocked one home with a second-inning infield single, and made a nifty play to rob Michael Trout of a hit in the eighth. Chad Green pitched a scoreless frame to pick up the win in relief of Luis Severino, who allowed a run on four hits over six innings. Albertin Chapman recorded the final four outs as the Yankees defeated the Angels for the fourth time in as many tries this season.
While he had trouble commanding his slider early, Severino kept the Angels off the board through the first four innings, helped by the 100.5 mph rocket from Judge that cut down Calhoun to end the third. Trout evened the score with his 16th homer, a fifth-inning blast off Severino that reached the second deck in right field.
"It was a bad pitch," Severino said. "I was trying to go down, and I left it in the middle. He's a good hitter, and he hit a good fastball there."
That was the last hit off Severino, who walked four and struck out five, tossing 99 pitches (63 for strikes). Judge contributed another assist behind Green in the seventh, firing a seemingly effortless strike to Didi Gregorius from the 314-foot marker in right field that cut down Maldonado attempting to stretch a single into a double.
"I've probably made that play a thousand times pregame," Judge said. "It's just like practice. Keep a routine, keep it simple, don't overthink it. The biggest thing is just make sure you catch the ball cleanly and keep an accurate throw. That's the biggest thing. Just replaying what I did in practice. That's all."
Heaney worked 6 1/3 innings, limiting New York to a run on four hits. The left-hander walked three and struck out five in the 97-pitch effort. The Angels, who were swept by the Yankees in a three-game series at Anaheim in April, fell to 10-29 (including the postseason) in the Bronx since the current Yankee Stadium opened in 2009.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The sellout crowd of 46,056 was treated to a power-vs.-power showdown between Ohtani and Chapman in the eighth inning. Chapman entered in relief of Player Page for David Robertson and advanced the potential tying run to second base with a wild pitch, and Ohtani had the audience buzzing as he lined a 100.3 mph fastball down the left-field line foul for strike two.
"It was a big situation," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "Obviously I really wanted to get a base hit, but I wasn't able to come through. All his pitches were really fast, really powerful. Some of the contact I made I thought was pretty good contact."
Chapman's fifth pitch of the at-bat was a 101.9 mph fastball, which Ohtani chopped to Gregorius for an inning-ending groundout.
"It was a good battle," Boone said. "It was fun to watch those two go at it. You could feel a little bit of electricity with those two. Ohtani had some good swings on him but Chappy was able to finish him off."
HE SAID IT
"It's not the power, he's just a good hitter. He's a good hitter that can hit it to all parts of the ballpark. He can pull it, go with it, he's been working counts. It's been fun to watch him these past couple weeks, just how professional his at-bats have been. No situation has been too big for him. Doesn't matter if we're down couple runs, up a couple runs or need a big hit, he always comes through. He never looks like the moment is too big for him." -- Judge, on Torres
The Yankees continue their three-game series with the Angels on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET) as right-hander Sonny Gray takes the ball for his 10th start of the season. Gray (3-3, 5.48 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season, having allowed one run on four hits over eight innings in a win at Kansas City. The Angels will recall rookie right-hander Jaime Barria (3-1, 2.13) from Triple-A Salt Lake to make the start.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.