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Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: Andujar, Severino star as Gleyber Torres debuts

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Things didn’t go smoothly for the top prospect in his first game, but the Yankees still prevailed to take three of four from Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It seems like the Yankees have entered a bunch of “New Eras” lately. They entered new eras after Mariano Rivera and then Derek Jeter retired. They entered a new era when they rebuilt at the 2016 trade deadline, and yet another when Aaron Judge became the face of the franchise, and perhaps baseball, last season.

Today was billed as the beginning of the Gleyber Era. Gleyber Torres, the biggest prize of that flash rebuild two years ago, the crown jewel of the Yankees’ deep farm system, played second base and batted eighth in his major league debut. The team’s young ace, Luis Severino, started. If there ever was a day that felt like the Yankees’ future fully became the Yankees’ present, it was today.

The game started auspiciously. Severino came out firing his usual 97 mph bullets and sharp sliders and posted a 1-2-3 first inning. Didi Gregorius, ever the man for the occasion, put the Yankees right on top, 1-0, with his sixth homer of the year in the bottom of the frame.

In the bottom of the second, Gary Sanchez walked, and the red-hot Miguel Andujar doubled to put two on for Torres’ first at-bat. Torres looked a little over-eager, swinging through a couple pitches off the plate from Jaime Garcia to quickly fall behind 0-2. He ultimately struck out swinging, but Austin Romine picked him up with a two-out, two-run double to extend the lead to 3-0.

Things were set up again for Torres in the fourth. Tyler Austin walked with one out, and Andujar singled to put two on with one out. Torres worked the count to 3-1 this time, before putting a solid swing on a four-seamer from Garcia. The ball was hit fairly hard, but right at third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who initiated a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Blue Jays finally got to Severino in the sixth. Severino hung a slider over the plate to Teoscar Hernandez, and Hernandez sent a high fly over the wall in left to make it 3-1. Smoak followed with a walk, but Severino alleviated any pressure by inducing an inning-ending double play from Solarte.

The Yankees quickly got to work to get that run back, as Sanchez doubled and Austin singled to put runners on the corners with one down. Andujar brought home Sanchez, scalding a double off the wall in center to make it 4-1. Torres once again came to plate with men on, but fouled out on a popup on the infield.

Aaron Boone let Severino enter the seventh having already thrown 97 pitches, but he rewarded the manager’s faith with a smooth final inning. Severino allowed just three hits and the lone run on the day, walking two and striking out six. He lowered his ERA to 2.32 on the season. Just another day at the office for one of the American League’s best pitchers.

The Yankees tacked on in the seventh, as Hicks singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by Russell Martin, and came home on Gregorius’ sacrifice fly, bringing the score to its final tally at 5-1. David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman worked the eighth and ninth innings to secure the win.

A good game for the team obscured an uneventful debut for Torres. Andujar was the star young player of the day, recording four hits and bringing his season slash line to .308/.327/.596. Andujar actually had three hits in his major league debut, and Judge and Austin memorably hit back-to-back homers in the first at-bats of their careers. Perhaps the Yankees were due for a prospect to debut in less exciting fashion.

The victory gave the Yankees a series win over Toronto and puts them at 4-2 on this 10-game homestand. They move on to a four-game set in the Bronx with the Twins starting tomorrow with Masahiro Tanaka looking to get back on track. For today, the future and the present came together, and the Yankees ultimately emerged with a positive result. As long as the likes of Severino, Judge, Andujar, and Torres are involved, this should be quite the common occurrence.

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