KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gleyber Torres had the worst day of his not-yet-month-old career in the majors Friday night, misplaying two balls, and it proved costly in the Yankees’ loss.
He more than redeemed himself a night later.
The 21-year-old, already with his share of significant hits as a big-leaguer, crushed a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fourth inning Saturday night. It was one of five homers, two by Gary Sanchez, hit by the Yankees in an 8-3 win over the Royals before 33,684 at Kauffman Stadium.
“One of the things we love about him is his makeup,’’ Aaron Boone said. “He has a tough night, he doesn’t flinch. He played the game with a lot of confidence because he’s really good about it. I don’t worry about him at all. Nice bounce-back for him.”
And for the Yankees (29-13), who have won 20 of 24.
Sanchez had four hits and three RBIs. Aaron Hicks added two hits, including his second inside-the-park homer of the season. Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Austin also had two hits each for the Yankees, who finished with 14, eight for extra bases.
“You don’t see that in Scranton,” Clint Frazier, making his 2018 debut, said of the overall power display.
Sanchez’s solo shot off Burch Smith in the seventh gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead, and Giancarlo Stanton and Sanchez, who came in hitting .204 but had a .797 OPS, went back-to-back off Blaine Boyer in the ninth.
Moments after Stanton tied Sanchez and Aaron Judge with his 11th homer, a 432-foot shot, Sanchez hit his second of the game and reclaimed the team lead. “I definitely feel better at the plate,” he said through his translator. “But at the same time, I knew in my head I’m not going to hit .210.”
Luis Severino (7-1, 2.35 ERA) didn’t have his best stuff for a second straight start but still pitched well enough to win, allowing three runs, eight hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out six.
After Torres’ three-run rocket to leftfield, which came on a 1-and-2 slider from Danny Duffy and gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead, the Royals got within 5-3 on Mike Moustakas’ two-out RBI single in the fifth. Salvador Perez then hit a long double to left-center, but leftfielder Stanton got the ball to shortstop Torreyes, whose relay throw to the plate barely nipped Moustakas. He made a headfirst dive, but a terrific sweep tag by Sanchez clipped him just before his hand brushed the plate. The call was upheld after a review.
Sanchez’s RBI double in the first gave Severino a lead before he threw a pitch.
Hicks, batting righthanded, led off the third by punching a 3-and-1 fastball off the top of the rightfield wall. Jorge Soler hit the wall and crashed to the ground as the ball skittered toward centerfield, with Hicks well on his way to third. Even though he didn’t run hard out of the box, he scored standing up to make it 2-0.
Hicks, who became the first Yankee to record multiple inside-the-park homers in a season since Mickey Mantle had three in 1958, crossed the plate with a wide smile as he high-fived Judge, the on-deck hitter.
“It’s fun,” Hicks said. “I think when you’re running around the bases, it’s just really enjoyable.”
The Royals tied it at 2 in the bottom of the third, but not for long. Frazier walked for the second time in the game and Torreyes singled. Up stepped Torres, who put the Yankees ahead to stay. “After last night, I wanted to be better for sure,” he said. “Today I prepared a little bit more, got a good opportunity and I helped [the team].”
The Yankees bashed five home runs in their 8-3 win Saturday night:
Aaron Hicks3rdDanny Duffy
Gleyber Torres4thDanny Duffy
Gary Sanchez7thBurch Smith
Gary Sanchez9thBlaine Boyer
Giancarlo Stanton9thBlaine Boyer