Torres hits 3-run HR, German gets 1st win as Yanks top Rays
NEW YORK (AP) — For a team with some of the biggest stars in baseball, the New York Yankees are getting many of their most critical contributions from a remarkable group of unflappable youngsters.
Gleyber Torres hit another three-run homer, fellow rookie Domingo German struck out a career-high 10 for his first major league win and the Yankees edged the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.
“All the young guys we have, they’ve been excelling. So, it’s fun to watch,” reliever Dellin Betances said. “I think the fans are excited to kind of see this wave of young guys just helping this team out and you’re going to be seeing them for a lot of years.”
Aaron Hicks also homered off Blake Snell (8-4) as New York beat the blossoming left-hander for the second time this season and ended his four-game winning streak.
“Gave them a lot of opportunity to do damage,” Snell said. “Everything was inconsistent.”
German (1-4) allowed Matt Duffy’s home run on the first pitch of the game but quickly recovered to strike out the next three batters.
“Unfazed,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “A really strong outing for us, especially after getting punched there right before Roll Call even started.”
Making his seventh start in place of injured Jordan Montgomery, the right-hander permitted three runs, five hits and two walks in his 19th career appearance.
Chad Green and Betances set up Aroldis Chapman for his 19th save in 20 attempts.
“It’s been a long battle for me,” German said through a translator. “It means a lot. Hopefully I can relax a little more.”
Wilson Ramos and Joey Wendle each had an RBI single for the Rays, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Toronto.
Duffy tried to score from first on Ramos’ run-scoring single in the third when the ball caromed off left fielder Giancarlo Stanton after he charged in for it. Stanton chased down the ball and fired a strike to catcher Gary Sanchez at home plate, nailing Duffy for the final out of the third to keep the score 2-0.
Fresh off a three-day breather, the slumping Sanchez had an eventful night on defense. He also dropped a foul popup for an error, allowed a wild pitch that put a runner in scoring position and threw out Carlos Gomez trying to steal third with one out in the seventh.
Hicks hit an opposite-field homer in the fifth. Aaron Judge singled and Sanchez drew a two-out walk before Torres drove a 96 mph, full-count fastball to left for his 13th homer since being called up from the minors on April 22. This was the first one that didn’t come from the No. 9 hole — Torres batted fifth as the Yankees started nine right-handed hitters against Snell.
The rookie has five three-run homers already, most among big league hitters. Torres also went deep in Wednesday night’s loss to Washington.
“I think when you mature every day, every at-bat, you believe in what (you) can do,” the 21-year-old Torres said. “Just try to take good at-bats, believe, focus and do my job.”
New York, with the best record in the majors at 44-20, hasn’t lost consecutive games since May 22-23 at Texas.
Making a strong bid for his first All-Star selection, Snell struck out eight and threw 105 pitches in five innings. He was 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his previous four starts.
“We need to get him deep in ballgames. He’s done that all season for us and today for whatever reason, he just didn’t have the command to get it done,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Rays: Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb surgery) and SS Adeiny Hechavarria (strained right hamstring) are moving from Class A Charlotte to Triple-A Durham this weekend to continue their rehab assignments. ... RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) is likely to play catch Friday, Cash said. ... INF Daniel Robertson (strained left hamstring) probably will play a rehab game or two at Class A and the team hopes he’ll be ready to come off the disabled list next Thursday, the first day he’s eligible, Cash said.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) was kept home with a virus but is expected back at the ballpark Friday. The issue shouldn’t delay Tanaka’s return, Boone said.
After the game, the Yankees optioned 1B-DH Tyler Austin to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to open a roster spot for Jonathan Loaisiga. The right-hander will be called up from Double-A Trenton to make his major league debut Friday night, pitching in place of Tanaka.
Rays: Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) starts Friday night against his former team, his fourth outing since coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16, going 14-3 in 2015, but has never faced New York. “I wish I would have been able to finish on a healthy note. Other than that, I really enjoyed my time there,” Eovaldi said. The right-hander visited with Yankees players during batting practice and said he still keeps in close contact with Betances and reliever Chasen Shreve.
Yankees: The 23-year-old Loaisiga, from Nicaragua, returned last year from Tommy John surgery. “I think he’s really talented. I think he’s going to be a really good pitcher in this league,” Boone said. “I think there’s just a presence about him.” Loaisiga was 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in six starts at Trenton after going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA at Class A Tampa this season, striking out 58 in 45 innings combined. “Super excited. This is a great opportunity the Yankees are giving me,” he said through a translator. “It’s been a tough road for me to get here and now it’s about enjoying this moment.”
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