Add in the import of this series, and there’s no way Yankee fans were comfortable for more than five or six seconds of an 8-3 win at Fenway, a game that stretched to 7-0 for well over an hour.
In previous seasons, that’d be a relaxing night where you could maybe turn innings seven through nine into an opportunity to unplug.
In 2021? We were all fairly certain Chad Green was about to make a five-run lead against the bottom of the Sox order very interesting. You know you were. You absolutely do.
Miraculously, this one didn’t really get too sweaty at any point after the bottom of the seventh inning, when home plate umpire Nic Lentz decided to royally rake Clay Holmes over the coals by calling strike three of the inning’s final batter just another ball. A single followed…before Wandy Peralta put out the flame by whiffing pinch-hitter Bobby Dalbec with a nasty change. It wasn’t hard to envision a three-run homer to make it 8-6. Wasn’t hard at all. And yet…the momentum turned in this one.
Thanks, in large part, to Gleyber Torres.
Torres had a massive game, but his biggest moment involved getting the Yankees off the mat after Rafael Devers’ three-run home run in the sixth, paired with a JD Martinez liner that nearly followed it out of the ballpark, too.
Leading off the top of the seventh, Torres made this a very different game by cracking an insurance homer out to dead center.
Gleyber Torres’ big game led the New York Yankees to a Game 1 victory at Fenway.
That’s his eighth homer of the season, and his fourth against the Red Sox, by the way. They don’t even really know he’s struggling.
You knew it might be gone off the bat…but we knew about three balls had a chance to dead center that inning, and none of them came particularly close.
To see Torres, specifically, be the Yankee calm, cool and collected enough to shake off Devers’ blast like a nodding Cam Newton GIF ready to answer a touchdown drive felt good. Up until a few weeks ago, he was always the most uncomfortable player on the diamond.
We all knew the look. Nobody wanted to be teammates with the guy wandering around the dirt, frightened to the core of a ball coming to him in a clutch situation. Torres spent most of the 2021 season wandering, lost.
Not Friday night in the biggest game of the season, and certainly not lately.
Torres’ second half of the season hasn’t been exemplary, but it’s been competent. Competence is fine, in this lineup. His power hasn’t been there during this hot streak, but…well…it showed up Friday night at the literal perfect time. It’s not gone forever, something we weren’t sure of earlier in the season.
This one will look like something near a laugher to the history books, but Torres’ 3-5 day represented several significant turning points that saved the game. His two-out RBI single in the first inning turned a two-run semi-disappointment into a situation where the Yankees fully capitalized. And his seventh-inning homer allowed all of us to push the sweat beads forcefully back into our brows.
Well, at least until Chad Green came in.
But that’s a concern for another day. If Torres can be this version of himself, the meaty middle of the bullpen moves a little further back in the anxiety pecking order.