Yankees can exhale — for one night, at least

BUFFALO — For a change, it was hard to hear Aaron Boone as he settled behind the microphone and in front of the Zoom camera. For a change, you could hear strands of loud music bleeding though the walls of the visiting clubhouse at Sahlen Field, the sure sign that a baseball game had gone, at last, as it was intended to go.

“It’s like a discotheque in there,” Boone said, chuckling.

Those laughs have been sparing in recent days and weeks, so Boone was going to savor an enjoyable night at the yard — a night when there was just enough frost in the air to hint of October, a night when the Yankees, at last, revisited the win column after an extended stay away, 7-2 over the Blue Jays.

The kid pitcher, Deivi Garia, had been everything Boone and everyone else could have hoped him to be, throwing seven innings, allowing five hits, making one mistake — which Derek Fisher made disappear in the second inning. The bullpen had been pristine. The bats had finally been removed from Bubble Wrap.

And Gleyber Torres looked like Gleyber Torres for one of the first times all year.

“He’s been getting into good counts, deep into counts,” Boone said of Torres. “Tonight he finally got some results.”

Gleyber Torres celebrates (right) with Miguel Andujar after belting a solo home run during the Yankees' 7-2 win over the Blue Jays.
Gleyber Torres (right) celebrates with Miguel Andujar after belting a solo home run during the Yankees’ 7-2 win over the Blue Jays.Getty Images

There was a monster home run that broke the ice in the top of the second, a ball that seemed destined for the highway far beyond the fences. That was a good sign.

The better one came three innings later. After spotting the Jays a 2-1 lead, the Yankees had tied matters on a DJ LeMahieu home run, then took a 3-2 lead when Luke Voit drove in Tyler Wade. Three batters later, Aaron Hicks having joined Voit on base, Torres came up to the plate in exactly the kind of spot in which the Yankees have cried out for a big hit in recent days.

It’s been something of a slog for Torres — who was hitting .227 entering the game, who missed time last month with a balky hamstring. In normal times, he is one of the brilliant young players in the sport, but in this season he, like so many others across the game, have had trouble finding his footing.

Here, though, he delivered a two-run double. It didn’t only give the Yankees breathing room, it actually allowed them to breathe, period. As Clint Frazier would say afterward: “It was important to win the game and get some people off our backs.”

That’s what it’s been like around the Yankees: quiet postgame clubhouses, quieter in-game innings, too many empty at-bats that could have turned games upside down. Not this time. And what a wonderful time for a change of pace.

“I wanted to start going to the plate with the same plan I had my first two years,” Torres said. “I didn’t want to go crazy, just go with my plan, put the ball in play, get really good at-bats.”

He also borrowed a page from 2019, wearing glasses to the plate. He figured anything that could get him started, light a spark, has to be a good thing.

“And we won,” he said, with a smile, indicating we may see those spectacles again soon, probably Thursday night when the Yankees will host the Orioles with revenge on their minds.

For now, for a night, there were good feelings to enjoy and positive vibes to soak in.

“I’ve always said it,” Boone said, “the best part of playing is shaking hands at the end after a win. Hopefully this can catapult us as we go home.”

Hopefully, for the Yankees, a game that was chockablock with good feelings and better moments can lead to something bigger, something better. The Yankees have been waiting for a night like this. They don’t seem inclined to let it pass without it meaning something.