NEW YORK -- Gleyber Torres thought that he was making an innocent fashion statement last week, reaching into his locker to pluck a pair of clear-tinted glasses from their protective case. Instead, the Yankees' shortstop has identified the team's new good-luck charm.
Peering through his non-prescription eyewear, Torres came off the bench and delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double in the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon. The drive powered the Yankees to their fifth consecutive win, a 3-1 victory that completed a four-game sweep of the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
"I feel really good with the glasses," said Torres, who raked the go-ahead knock off left-hander Tanner Scott. "I used them last year and I hit really good. I feel good that I helped the team. I'll continue to wear them and try to do the same thing I'm doing right now."
Torres said that he still wears contact lenses during games, but he tried the glasses against the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Buffalo, N.Y., when he homered and drove in four runs to help the Yanks snap their five-game slide. Since then, Torres is 7-for-14 (.500) with three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs, and his teammates do not believe it is a coincidence.
"The first day he had them on in Buffalo, I know guys on the bench were yelling, 'Leave those on!'" manager Aaron Boone said. "So I hope he leaves them on."
Torres' knock helped secure the Yanks' sixth sweep of the season, continuing their dominance of the Orioles. Though they stumbled during a recent visit to Camden Yards, the Yanks have won 23 of their last 26 games against the O's, including seven of 10 this year.
"It's something that we knew we were capable of," said outfielder Clint Frazier. "It was just a matter of time for it to all come together and for some things to go our way."
Start me up
Tyler Wade put the Yankees on the board with a third-inning homer off John Means, who scattered five hits over six innings. Over the five-game winning streak, the Yankees have outscored opponents 28-5, and the Bombers' starting pitching deserves a hearty share of credit.
Baltimore forced J.A. Happ to labor in a 73-pitch outing, but the left-hander limited the damage to Renato Núñez's second-inning solo homer. Happ pinned a runner in scoring position in the second inning, then navigated a first-and-third, none-out jam in the fifth with help from his defense.
"We were in a tough spot there, but I still felt like the stuff was playing fine," Happ said. "I was hoping they would hit it to somebody, and with Alberto up there, he's such a good bat-to-ball guy. It was really good to get a swing and miss there and then Higgy threw the guy out, so that was a big play for us."
Over his last five starts, Happ has pitched to a 2.45 ERA, permitting eight runs in 29 1/3 innings. Bolstered by strong efforts from Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery earlier in the Orioles series, New York's rotation has compiled a 1.95 ERA over its last nine starts, with 11 earned runs crossing the plate over 50 2/3 innings.
"We're definitely pulling for each other," Happ said. "We're coming in each outing and talking to the guys -- how they felt, what they thought was good, words of encouragement to try to keep lifting guys up. I know the offense is doing the same thing. We're just trying to get on the best page we can. This is a strange season and hopefully we're settling in a little bit."
For the Birds
As the Yankees approach a pivotal showdown with the Blue Jays that will begin on Tuesday, it is a positive development that their vaunted bullpen seems to be back on track. Five relievers combined for four scoreless, hitless innings on Sunday, including perfect work by winning pitcher Zack Britton and closer Aroldis Chapman, who registered his second save.
"We have a bullpen with a lot of quality arms," Chapman said through an interpreter. "We knew it was going to happen, that we were going to get back on track. We've done a great job the last couple of games, and we feel great."