MINNEAPOLIS – The last time the New York Yankees won the World Series, a full decade ago, Gleyber Torres was not yet a teenager in Venezuela.
Boosted by an age-defiant performance by their 22-year-old star second baseman, the Yankees moved one step closer to that elusive trophy.
Torres got New York going with a second-inning home run, scored on each of his two doubles and made a pair of sparkling defensive plays, fueling the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over Minnesota on Monday night to finish yet another Division Series sweep of the Twins.
“He’s a really special player, a really special player,” first baseman DJ LeMahieu said. “No moment’s too big for him.”
Didi Gregorius hit two RBI singles, Cameron Maybin homered and Aroldis Chapman struck out three batters in a five-out save for the Yankees, who completed the three-game wipeout and pushed their postseason winning streak over the Twins to 13. LeMahieu, Gregorius and Aaron Judge also made outstanding defensive plays for key outs.
“All we did was to go out there and play our best baseball,” said Gregorius, who went 4 for 10 with six RBIs in the series and is 23 for 50 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in his last 14 games against Minnesota.
Following a 103-win regular season and their first AL East title since 2012, the Yankees will start the AL Championship Series on Saturday, either at Houston or at home against Tampa Bay.
“We’re focused already to the second series,” Torres said.
Rays 10, Astros 3
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Kevin Kiermaier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer as Tampa Bay teed off on Zack Greinke, and the Rays got another clutch playoff performance from Morton to beat Houston and cut their AL Division Series deficit to 2-1.
Facing the team he helped win the World Series two years ago, Charlie Morton allowed one run and three hits while striking out nine over five innings. The 35-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA in four career elimination starts, including last week’s wild-card win at Oakland.
Nationals 6, Dodgers 1
In Washington, Max Scherzer tossed a season-saving, seven-inning masterpiece that combined with Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run homer to lift the wild-card Nationals to a victory over league-best Los Angeles , forcing a deciding Game 5 in their NL Division Series.
Scowling and muttering to himself, Scherzer allowed one run and four hits while striking out nine — and, most importantly for Washington, he prevented LA from closing out the NLDS after taking a 2-1 lead into Game 4.
Cardinals 5, Braves 4 (10)
In St. Louis, Yadier Molina pushed the Cardinals to a deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series, poking a tying single in the eighth inning and lifting a sacrifice fly in the 10th to beat Atlanta.
Molina slung his bat far into the outfield after his winner, and the crowd at Busch Stadium roared with the longtime heart of the franchise.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5