Before the postseason started on Tuesday, Gleyber Torres said he got some advice from someone who has been there plenty of times before.
Prior to the Yankees’ 12-3 win over the Indians in Game 1 of the wild-card series, Brett Gardner told him even though the season didn’t go how the Yankees might have planned, that could change now.
“He said even though we didn’t feel we did a really good job — and I feel the same way — baseball gives you another opportunity,’’ Torres said. “This is the time to do the job. The regular season is over.”
Torres got the postseason going with a flourish, with four hits, including a homer, as he led an offense that pounded Cleveland’s ace, Shane Bieber.
“Right now is our time to win,’’ Torres said.
It was no surprise to Aaron Boone, who, even as Torres struggled on both sides of the ball throughout the 2020 season, expressed confidence the young Yankees star would find his way when it mattered most.
“The more on the line, the more the stakes are, I think he likes that,’’ Boone said.
It started in the bottom of the third, with the Yankees up by three runs. Delino DeShields singled and moved to second on a wild pitch by Gerrit Cole. Kyle Higashioka threw wildly into center field and DeShields easily could have gotten to third, but Torres acted as if he’d caught the ball and Aaron Hicks retrieved it in time to keep DeShields at second base.
At the plate, Torres reached on an infield single in the second and drew a walk and scored on Brett Gardner’s double in the fourth.
And then he helped seal the Yankees’ win with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth that made it 7-2 and ended Bieber’s night after Torres spoiled four breaking balls.
He ended up with the four hits, as well as three runs scored and three RBIs in a performance that may allow him to put a rough 2020 season behind him.
It was a stark contrast from the player that went just 5-for-28 with just one extra-base hit over his final eight regular-season games and made nine errors in his first season as a full-time shortstop in the majors.
“I feel like he’s in a good place right now,’’ Boone said.
“When GT is doing his thing, he’s one of the best baseball players in the game,’’ Aaron Judge said. “He’s 23 years old and comes up in big situations. … It’s fun to see him back on track and do his thing.”