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Yankees Highlights: Gleyber Torres stars as Bombers sweep their way to the ALCS

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A big game from their stud second baseman and a stellar night of team defense thrust the Yankees one step closer to the World Series.

MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After a pair of blowouts in the Bronx, we were treated to a close contest in Game Three of the ALDS between the Yankees and the Twins. The Bombers dominated Minnesota back home, but out in the Midwest, the Twins put the Yankees through the ringer. The Twins put good wood on the ball all night and worked solid at-bats, much like a seasoned Yankee lineup typically does to opponents. Yet the Yankees held firm, played tight defense, and ultimately got the 27 outs they needed to sweep the Twins. On to the ALCS!

Winner of the Game

Gleyber Torres was the star tonight. He opened up the scoring with a solo shot off of Jake Odorizzi in the second:

Torres’ first career playoff bomb made him the youngest Yankee to go deep in October since Derek Jeter in 1996. He also added a double in the seventh, scoring on a Didi Gregorius RBI single to add an important insurance run, to go along with another double in the ninth.

Of course, much of this game came down to the Yankees’ ability to dodge bullets in terms of run prevention. Torres’ excellent play to end the fifth with two on was just one example of New York’s many close calls tonight:

The Yankees needed to be perfect on defense tonight to keep the Twins on the mat. They were.

Honorable mention: I’m going to use this space to highlight some more of the defensive plays that were crucial to the Yankees’ success. Here’s just one of Aaron Judge’s many strong plays in right field:

And here’s DJ LeMahieu helping Luis Severino record the final out of his wild outing:

I have to reiterate that the Twins put together enough quality at-bats to win tonight. The Yankees’ defense ensured that they didn’t.

Loser of the Game

This was a well-fought game, and unfortunately, someone had to lose it. The big losers tonight were the Twins and their fans. This must’ve been an excruciating game to watch from the losing end, with the Twins repeatedly coming painfully close to putting up a crooked number, and time after time coming away denied. I put the Twins and their supporters in this section only because the Twins lost, and because in sports, there have to be winners and losers, by the letter of the law. That shouldn’t diminish what has been a tremendous, surprising, and fun year of baseball in Minnesota. Hats off to them.

Chart

FanGraphs