HOUSTON — It took Gleyber Torres just over two weeks of 2018 minor league games to work his way into the bigs. It has required even less time for the rookie to make himself feel like an essential Yankee.
In arguably the Yankees’ biggest win of the season, a 6-5 thriller over the Astros on Thursday at Minute Maid Park, Torres delivered a game-tying, two-run, ninth-inning single after contributing a sacrifice fly earlier. He owns a fantastic .317/.356/.390 slash line and is playing great defense at second base to boot.
“I don’t think he’s 21, man,” a smiling Aaron Judge said of his new teammate. “The way he plays, the way he handles himself and makes adjustments … you don’t see that often in a young guy.”
“If I get an opportunity to try to help my team, I enjoy it,” Torres said. “If I do my job, I enjoy it more.”
The Yankees are now 11-1 since Torres joined the team on April 22. They finished a 6-1 road trip and a 3-1 series against the defending-champion Astros in large part thanks to Torres.
The score stood at 5-3, in the home team’s favor, when Torres stepped up to the plate against Houston reliever Brad Peacock with no outs and the bases loaded in the ninth.
“I don’t pay too much attention to the fans or anything like that,” Torres said.
Peacock, fresh in the game to relieve Will Harris, offered Torres a high, 0-and-1 slider. Torres stroked it to left field, where it landed in front of Derek Fisher, and Miguel Andujar and Neil Walker scored from second and third base, respectively, to knot the game at 5-5, with Aaron Hicks advancing to third. Hicks scored the lead run when Aaron Judge hit into a force out at second base.
Torres, upon getting his big hit, raised his arms and pointed to his teammates.
“It’s what I expected,” Aaron Boone said of his newest prized player. “Poise, he’s got that in spades. He’s beyond his years. He plays with a confidence and maturity. I feel great about him in that spot.”
The Yankees feel great about their top prospect in nearly any spot, and that Aroldis Chapman — the man who brought back Torres in that memorable 2016 trade with the Cubs, only to return to the Yankees that subsequent offseason — saved the victory had to make it sweeter for everyone involved.
“I feel good,” Torres said, and his presence has made the Yankees feel ecstatic.
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