MINNEAPOLIS -- Second baseman Gleyber Torres had a game he’ll never forget on Monday night, beginning with the first big hit for the Yankees that invoked the memory of Derek Jeter.
In Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Twins, Torres put the Yankees ahead with a second-inning home run off Jake Odorizzi, providing a spark as New York went on to win, 5-1, and complete a three-game sweep to advance to the AL Championship Series.
It was Torres' first career postseason homer, and at 22 years and 298 days old, he is the youngest Yankees player to hit a postseason home run since Jeter in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Championship Series vs. the Orioles at old Yankee Stadium.
“Personally, I'm happy,” Torres said. “It doesn't matter if I hit a home run or a double, that is an opportunity to help my team. I just put the ball in play. I know the guys behind me do a really good job. So I'm just happy to get an opportunity to be on base and try to score a run to help my team.”
Jeter’s famous home run (at 22 years, 105 days) was the one the Orioles claimed should have been ruled fan interference when young Jeffrey Maier appeared to reach over the rail in right field trying to catch the ball. The Twins thought there might have been a repeat of history on Monday night.
Batting with one out, Torres hit a first-pitch cut fastball and lifted it high to deep left field. Jake Cave went back to the wall and tried to make a leaping catch. At the same time, a fan reached over the railing and got his hands on the ball before it possibly got to Cave.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli asked for, and was granted, a crew chief review. But the replay showed the ball would have landed beyond Cave’s reach even without the fan’s involvement, so the call was confirmed.
Torres' strong night continued in the fifth, when he made a nice defensive play to end the inning.
With runners on first and second, Torres was shifted to shallow right field after the Yankees brought in right-hander Chad Green to face Eddie Rosario. Rosario hit a ball sharply to right, which Torres fielded with an impressive sliding stop and threw to first to help New York escape the jam.
“I feel good ... I did the job,” Torres said. “I helped my team in every situation. I played defense. We won the game. That is the most important, and now it's time to celebrate.”
Torres also had a pair of doubles, one in the seventh and another in the ninth, and both times he later scored on a single by Didi Gregorius. Torres is the youngest Yankees player to collect three extra-base hits in a postseason game.
“Gosh, he played so well in this series,” manager Aaron Boone said.”Then, today, I think, just continued to show the world just how good a player he is on both sides of the ball. I mean, big defensive plays, extra-base hits, stole a base that helped lead to a nice insurance run. So what more can you say about Gleyber? He's been great.”