Gleyber Torres is exciting. He also is infuriating.
He sparked the Yankees to an 8-4 Fourth of July win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning and scoring the go-ahead run from first base with a daring dash on Giancarlo Stanton’s fifth-inning single.
Torres walked against Kyle Gibson (8-6) and was running on a full-count, two-out pitch when Stanton hit a three-hop single up the middle. Center fielder Cedric Mullins tossed the ball to second as Torres ran through third base coach Luis Rojas’ stop sign and slid headfirst across the plate without a throw for a 4-3 lead.
“That was a very instinctive play,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters. "It gets him in trouble sometimes, and had they thrown him out of the play, you guys would probably be asking about it. Instead, the crowd goes wild. So it’s that fine line."
An All-Star in his first two seasons, Torres struggled in 2020 and '21 before rebounding somewhat last year, when he hit .247 with 24 homers and 76 RBIs. He is batting .258 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs this season.
“I saw the outfield really deep.” Torres said. “When I passed the second baseman, I just anticipated a little early.. I know Rojas (gave) me the stop sign. ... If I get out, it's going to be a bad situation.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde praised Torres for “running unbelievably aggressively everywhere right now."
“We’ve got to keep our head up a little bit and get the ball in a little quicker,” Hyde said.
Yankees fans have had high expectations since Torres was obtained from the Cubs in the 2016 trade that sent closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago. He is signed to a $9.95 million, one-year deal and can become a free agent after the 2024 season.
"Gleyber does have a knack for doing those kinds of things because he’s kind of fearless," Boone said.
“Sometimes he gets in trouble, so you want to rein it in a little bit, but it’s actually kind of a really heads-up play knowing that ball’s going to come into second.”
Aaron Hicks homered in his second game back in the Bronx after Yankees released him on May 26 and Adam Frazier followed with a tying, two-run homer in a three-run fifth against Clarke Schmidt (4-6).
Hicks is hitting .264 with five homers and 13 RBIs for the Orioles after batting .188 with one homer and five RBIs for the Yankees. He has been repeatedly booed by fans in the Bronx.
“Just kind of the way this year was going and things I’ve been hearing while I was out there when I was here,” Hicks said. “I kind of assumed that was going to happen."
Jose Trevino added an opposite-field homer to right in the seventh against Nick Vespi as the Yankees improved to 13-13 since reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge got hurt.
Harrison Bader followed with a two-run double against Bryan Baker, a day after Bader’s tiebreaking, three-run homer lifted New York to a 6-3 win in the series opener.
“He's got that 'it' factor,” Schmidt said.
In a game delayed by rain for 38 minutes, Schmidt won consecutive starts for the first time this year. He allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Gibson threw a season-high 104 pitches, giving up four runs, three hits and four walks in six innings.
Tommy Kahnle has pitched 14 consecutive scoreless games since recovering from biceps tendinitis and starting his season June 2. That tied Mariano Rivera in 2008 for the Yankees' third-longest streak behind Lee Guetterman's 19 in 1989 and Andrew Miler's 17 in 2015.
“Early on, before he was pitching, it was just like ... this guy’s just loud,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t know what to think of it. Now I love it. .. He’s obviously a dog. He’s got like that competitiveness to him. He kind of fires the boys up a little bit in the dugout.”
A 33-year-old right-hander, Kahnle pitched for the Yankees from 2017-20 and re-signed last offseason.
“I first come in, I probably seem a little over the top,” Kahnle said. “Guys, the more they're around me, the more they start to kind of like it. It keeps guys loose and they have fun.”
TOP OF THE ORDER
Anthony Rizzo led off for the first time this year and went 0 for 4. He walked ahead of Torres' homer and hit into a run-scoring forceout in the eighth that gave the Yankees an 8-3 lead.
Orioles: C James McCann was activated from the 10-day IL after recovering from a sprained left ankle that had sidelined him since June 17. LHP Cionel Pérez was placed on the 15-day IL because of left forearm soreness, a move retroactive to Monday, LHP Bruce Zimmerman was recalled from Norfolk and RHP Chris Vallimont was optioned to the Triple-A team.
Yankees: Bader was hit on the left wrist by a Gibson pitch in the fourth and remained in the game.
Baltimore RHP Dean Kremer (8-4, 5.04) starts Wednesday night. New York may recall RHP Randy Vásquez (1-1, 1.74) from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start.