Gleyber Torres hit fifth in the lineup Thursday night, with Aaron Boone saying before the game the move up from the 9-spot was temporary and mostly based on the fact that he sat lefty hitters Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird against Tampa Bay southpaw Blake Snell.
Regardless of where the rookie second baseman hits, though, he seems to find a way to deliver.
It happened again in the Yankees’ 4-3 win over the Rays, when Torres blasted his 13th homer of the season, this one a three-run shot off Snell with two out in the fifth that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
Torres’ shot followed Aaron Hicks’ homer, as the Yankees got to Snell for four runs in five innings. He entered Thursday having not given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts.
Snell was outpitched by rookie, Domingo German, who struck out a career-high 10 while giving up three runs in six innings to beat the Rays, who came in winners of three straight and four of their past five.
German got off to a rough start as Matt Duffy put his first pitch, a 92 mph fastball, into the seats in left to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
In a sign of things to come, German bounced back to strike out the next three swinging.
Snell retired the first five batters he faced — striking out three — before Miguel Andujar’s opposite-field double to right. Tyler Austin and Ronald Torreyes followed with walks to load the bases with two outs for Neil Walker.
Walker whiffed on a 3-2 changeup to end the threat in the 31-pitch inning.
The Rays added a run in the third when Wilson Ramos delivered a two-out single to left to drive in Johnny Field. The ball got away from Giancarlo Stanton, but he recovered in time to get Duffy at the plate to keep it 2-0.
The Yankees left two more runners on in the bottom of the inning, as Torreyes — filling in for Gregorius — grounded to first for the final out, but they managed to get Snell up to 76 pitches on the night.
Hicks got the Yankees on the board in the fifth to make it 2-1.
After a single by Aaron Judge and a walk to Gary Sanchez, Tampa Bay pitching coach Kyle Snyder paid Snell a visit.
It didn’t work as Torres crushed his 13th homer of the year to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. He has hit three homers in his past five games.
The Rays got a run back in the sixth. A German wild pitch sent Jake Bauers to second, and he was driven in on a single by Joey Wendle.
With Wendle on second, German finished his night by getting Willy Adames swinging on a 3-2 fastball, his 10th strikeout of the night.
Chad Green entered in the seventh and allowed a one-out double to Carlos Gomez after Andujar made a nice backhanded play to get Mallex Smith to open the inning.
Sanchez, who dropped a pop-up early in the game, then gunned down Gomez trying to steal third for the second out. Green fanned Field to finish the inning.
Dellin Betances tossed a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman picked up his seventh save of the month for the Yankees, who haven’t lost consecutive games since dropping two straight in Texas on May 22-23.
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