NEW YORK — Forty-six thousand, one hundred and seventy-five people took their seats at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night with the chance to witness history at the forefront of their minds. The sold-out crowd hoped to see one man, Aaron Judge, hit his 61st home run of the season, which would have matched the American League record set by Roger Maris in 1961.
The energy in the ballpark was palpable as each performance of the Judge record got the crowd on their feet, cellphones in the ready position to capture a once-in-a-lifetime memory. The Yankees could feel it.
“Of course it felt like waiting for that big moment,” said manager Aaron Boone. “It felt a little different tonight.”
While Judge didn’t hit number 61, he was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk in the eighth inning. It didn’t matter though, as there was one more Yankees batter ready to make some history during that frame.
In the Yankees’ 14-2 win over the Pirates at Yankee Stadium — the 90th win of the season in New York — Gleyber Torres hit not one, but two home runs in an eight-run eighth that put the game on ice . Torres started and then capped the Bronx Bombers’ offensive outburst with a solo shot to right field and a three-run shot to left, making him just the fifth Yankee to launch a pair of home runs in the same inning.
“[It’s] special,” Torres said. “Mainly [since] the game was open, I just didn’t think too much and tried to put a really good swing on the fastball, and I hit a home run [each time]. I feel really happy – also because I keep doing things that are really good for the team.”
The 25-year-old joined the troupe of Alex Rodriguez (who did it twice, most recently on October 4, 2009), Cliff Johnson (1977), Joe Pepitone (’62) and Joe DiMaggio (’36). Coincidentally, Torres’ own skipper also accomplished this feat during his playing days by hitting some long balls for the Reds in the first inning on August 9, 2002.
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool,” Boone said. “The other way and then an exclamation mark on it… that makes for a good week there.”
But that was only one aspect of Torres’ night. His 13th multihome game of his career – and the third of the season – came amid a performance in which he scored three hits, four runs scored and five RBI’s, the last of which he scored only for the third time. his career. In his first 568 games, Torres’ 13 multihomer games were the fourth most for a Yankee, trailing only Judge (15), Gary Sánchez (15) and DiMaggio (14).
Torres also now has a season-high 10-game hit streak, which is the fourth-longest of his career, after just a 12-game streak and two 11-game streaks. According to Yankees starter Luis Severino, who threw five innings on his return from a two-month stay on the injured list, Torres is “the best hitter in the game right now.” That’s saying something if they’re both teammates with Judge.
But that’s the kind of tear Torres has had lately, although he may have gone under the radar. In 16 games in September, he averaged .313 with an OPS of .960.
“It’s great to see Gleyber continue to play the way he plays [and] have the kind of at bats he’s had lately,” Boone said. “They’ve helped us a little bit over the past few weeks to turn it around. He is in the middle of it.”
However, Torres wouldn’t have been able to add to those numbers if the rest of the Yankees order hadn’t kept the pressure on the Pirates in that brutal eighth inning. Between Torres’ two shots, the Bombers walked three and launched a trio of points scoring doubles, keeping the line moving as they took a big place in their last frame on offense for the second straight night.
“[It’s] good to have those kind of at bats and keep on pouring. You never want to take anything for granted,” Boone said. “Everybody [was] just making it difficult… and that worked out well for us in the end.”
For none more than Torres.