BALTIMORE (CBSNewYork/AP) — It didn’t look good for New York through the first five innings, luckily Gleyber Torres picked Thursday to have a career day at the plate.
The Yankees finally put the bat on the ball in a huge way, and the result was a satisfying victory that wrecked the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener.
Torres homered twice, had a career-high four hits, and drove in four runs to lead an offensive barrage that carried New York past Baltimore 8-4 Thursday.
Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit also homered for the injury-riddled Yankees, who were looking for a spark following a 2-4 opening homestand.
“It was nice today to break through with a couple of big hits — big hits that happened to be home runs,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That really energized the guys and, in a way, allowed us to exhale a bit.”
Torres’ first home run of the season got New York within 3-1 in the third inning, and his three-run drive in the sixth on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Mike Wright (0-1) put the Yankees up 5-4.
“We were fired up,” Boone said. “We’ve had our opportunities and just haven’t been able to cash in. To finally get a big one there, in the dugout there was some emotion and some energy that that thing brought.”
Before the 22-year-old’s clutch sixth-inning blast, the Yankees had continued to look clueless at the plate. One inning earlier, Torres led the fifth off with a double, but failed to score as the Yankees continued to falter with runners in scoring position this year.
Torres’ second drive to left took the edge off opening day at Camden Yards and the sellout crowd of 44,182 after the rebuilding Orioles won two of three at both Yankee Stadium and in Toronto.
“It was one of those games where the long ball beat us,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought we played well. We just didn’t execute certain pitches in bad spots.”
It was the third career two-homer game for the 22-year-old Torres, who did it twice last year during his rookie season. The second time was in August against Baltimore, when he went deep against Alex Cobb and Wright — just as he did on this occasion.
“Weird,” Torres offered.
Voit’s three-run drive in the ninth sealed the victory for the Yankees, who beat Baltimore in their own season opener.
James Paxton (1-1) struck out nine and allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings to win his first game with New York after being traded from Seattle in November.
After a lengthy pregame ceremony for a fan base that waited a week for opening day, Jonathan Villar prolonged the feel-good vibe by hitting Paxton’s second pitch over the right field wall. Baltimore then used two walks and a single to load the bases before a balk and a wild pitch made it 3-0.
It was 4-1 when the Yankees rallied in the sixth. Sanchez chased Cobb with a two-out solo shot and Wright gave up successive singles before Torres homered.
“I focus every time,” Torres said, “but when the game is on the line I feel a little more excited.”
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has picked up where he left off from last season, and that’s not a good thing.
Davis struck out three times and is 0 for 17 with 11 strikeouts. He went hitless over his final 21 at-bats in 2018 to finish at .168, the worst batting average for a qualifier in major league history.
All this from a player in the fourth season of a seven-year, $161 million contract. He was booed after each strikeout, and the crowd cheered when he was removed for a pinch hitter in the eighth.
“I understand the frustration,” Davis said. “Nobody’s more frustrated than I am, especially a day like today. We really had them on their heels the whole game and it was a frustrating day for me personally and the team collectively.”
Yankees SS Troy Tulowitzki was placed on the injured list with a strained left calf, the 11th Yankee to go on the IL this season. INF Thairo Estrada was recalled to replace him.
RHP Dellin Betances (shoulder) is scheduled to have another bullpen throwing session on Friday before facing live hitters. OF Aaron Hicks (back) was set to start baseball activities Thursday at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Florida.
After a day off Friday, New York will send J.A. Happ (0-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound on Saturday night in Baltimore.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)