Youngsters Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres propel Yankees to win

NEW YORK -- As soon as he saw the ball fall into a patch of Yankee Stadium outfield grass and out of nearby defenders' reach, Miguel Andujar took a quick peek over his shoulder.

With a glance toward the New York Yankees dugout, he saw a horde of his teammates charging, all smiles, toward him.

On the same night that 21-year-old Yankees rookie Gleyber Torres crushed his first major league home run, Andujar, just two years Torres' senior, helped the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 7-6 Friday night by delivering his first career walk-off hit. New York now has won 13 of its past 14 games.

As they keep winning, the Baby Bombers are living up to their name.

"No moment's too big for them," Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. "It doesn't matter if it's the bottom of the ninth, a big situation, or if it's their first at-bat, or if you need to move the runner over. They always just stick to their plan, stick to their approach and just get the job done. Like it's just business as usual."

The "business as usual" approach was one Andujar tried to take to celebrate his game-winning single in the ninth. But when he looked over his shoulder while taking the turn at first base, he saw his teammates weren't just looking for a high five or two.

Pitcher Luis Severino was running onto the field with a couple of bags of sunflower seeds. Other Yankees had pieces of still-wrapped bubble gum in their hands. Shortstop Didi Gregorius sprinted out carrying a mostly full Gatorade cooler with plans of dumping it on Andujar's head.

Veteran left fielder Brett Gardner actually reached for the cooler first, but when he saw Andujar running far away from his other teammates and several feet into right field, he moved away from it and let Gregorius do the honors instead.

"He went all the way out there. It was too far for me," Gregorius said. "But I managed to get him."

The duo of Torres and Andujar have been getting to their share of baseballs this season. Torres has a .333 batting average with three doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and a .834 OPS in only 13 games. Since he was called up 13 days ago, the Yankees have gone 12-1.

Andujar, who began starting at third nearly a month ago when Brandon Drury went on the disabled list due to trouble with blurred vision, will enter play Saturday with a .290 batting average, three homers, 12 doubles, 13 RBIs and an .821 OPS.

"We thought so highly of them going into this year and figured that they would play a role in some way, but to be the impact players they are for our club right now these last couple weeks, I guess I should say I'm not shocked by it," manager Aaron Boone said. "Because I know how talented these guys are and I know who they are makeup-wise. But to have it happen this quickly, and for them having the impact that they are having on a nightly basis, and contributing to us to win hard games, yeah, it's pretty special."

Like with Boone and the coaching staff, the two youngsters turned their teammates' heads long before the regular season began.

"Those guys, they're always energetic. They're always fighting. They never give up," Gregorius said. "That's one thing I saw from them since spring training, talking to them there a little bit, and now they're here. They didn't change at all."

Added pitcher CC Sabathia: "The organization is doing a great job with these kids coming up. ... It's going to be fun watching this team develop over the summer."

Torres' 420-foot fourth-inning shot to left made him the youngest Yankees player to homer in a game in nearly 49 years. At 21 years and 142 days, Torres was the youngest to homer since John Ellis did it at 20 years, 269 days on May 17, 1969. Ellis hit an inside-the-park home run against the California Angels.

"I try to learn every day and be a better person every day, and try to take more experiences every day," Torres said.

As much as Torres is trying to continue to learn, it's clear to those who play with him and Andujar that as the Yankees' two bright young stars go this season, so too goes the team.

"This team's special," Judge said. "But there's always a growing pain in the middle where you've got to get guys comfortable and everyone used to each other. And then once that happens, then this team can go on a pretty good run. Once we all start clicking, it's going to be a lot of fun."