BALTIMORE — One of the best things that has happened to the Yankees while being crushed by injuries this season is the acceleration factor.
No one is accelerating faster than Gleyber Torres.
Young players like Torres have had to rise to the occasion. Torres, 22, has done a phenomenal job at shortstop and at the plate. All this figures to make the Yankees that much stronger down the stretch in the AL East race and on into October.
Torres blasted two more home runs Monday night in the come-from-behind 10-7 win over the pathetic Orioles at Camden Yards. The Yankees scored four times in the ninth, the final runs coming on Gary Sanchez’s two-out, three-run home run off Mychal Givens.
Sanchez has 13 home runs on the season, seven against the Orioles.
Torres has also killed the Orioles, with eight of his 10 home runs this season coming against Baltimore. This was his third multi-home run game of the season, all three coming against the Orioles. Of his five career multi-home run games, four have come against the O’s. He became the youngest player in Yankees history to have five multi-home run games.
Against the Orioles, every day is Gleyber Day.
When I jokingly asked Sanchez, who is better against the Orioles, he or Torres, Sanchez smiled and said, “Probably Gleyber, he hits more homers.’’
Sanchez has a knack for hitting ninth-inning home runs but Torres is growing into an incredible star as he has taken over at shortstop for the injured Didi Gregorius, and he is not afraid to invoke the Yankees mystique.
“We are Yankees, always a winner,’’ said Torres, who has a nine-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 21 of his past 22 games. “We have a history, you know what I mean. We just like to continue, we have a goal, we want to go to the championship, the World Series for sure. We just prepare mentally right now and play to win.
“We have 27 [championships]. We want 28. The little things we do right now will help us get to that goal.’’
This is one determined young player. But you have to have that kind of determination to really succeed at this level. Everything about Gleyber Torres is star level.
It will be fascinating to see how the lessons learned today will pay off tomorrow when the Yankees will have to be at their best.
Sanchez marvels at the growth he has seen in Torres, saying, “He’s very impressive. You see what he did last year and what he is doing now, not only as a hitter but also defensively. Great talent and I think he is going to be playing this level of baseball for a long time.’’
During this hitting streak, Torres has raised his batting average from .270 to .298.
“For me, I like to compete,’’ Torres told The Post about his success. “I try to make sure my mental approach is right to come back the next day. Last year to me was my year to learn about the pitchers, about my routine, about everything and this year I am still learning so much and try to take all that experience and use it to make me better every day. I try to play with confidence every day and play with consistency.’’
He is growing into one of the Yankees’ most productive and reliable players.
“Experience is a valuable thing to gain and we’ve had a lot of our guys in varying roles gain a lot of experience,’’ Aaron Boone said. “A lot of guys have done well with it, had success, I think that leads to their confidence in knowing they can not only play here but thrive here. We’ve needed every bit of it.’’
Along the way Torres, has helped fellow Venezuelan Thairo Estrada.
“Thairo is a really good player,’’ Torres said. “I’ve known him for a number of years and he is very mature. He asks me questions for sure and I tell him, just play relaxed and don’t be scared,’’ Torres explained. “Just be in the moment.’’
That is exactly what Gleyber Torres is doing for these Yankees. He is in the moment. All the big moments.
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