NEW YORK — Have you ever seen a player score from first base on an infield single?
Check this out, because you may not see it again for a very long time.
Down two runs to the Houston Astros on Thursday afternoon, Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres started the bottom of the eighth with a leadoff walk. Two batters later, center fielder Aaron Hicks lined a one-hopper up the middle into the teeth of the shift.
Torres never stopped running.
As the ball trickled past shortstop Carlos Correa, on the right side of the second base bag, Torres made it to second safely with ease. Seeing Alex Bregman was nowhere near third base, Torres kept on chugging, sprinting toward third.
As catcher Martín Maldonado booked it toward third, Torres recognized that nobody backed him up to cover home plate. He kept going, rounding third and sliding in safely to score without a play.
"It was great. Obviously as an infielder, he's aware of shifts and different predicaments you can get yourself in on some different balls," manager Aaron Boone said after the game. "It's an incredibly heads-up play by Gleyber."
New York would up losing 7-4, failing to complete the comeback, but Torres' adventure around the bases in the eighth was still a memorable play, one that hyped up the crowd at Yankee Stadium.
Torres recalled noticing the shift before the play, recognizing where Houston's infielders were positioned during a quick conversation with first-base coach Reggie Willits.
Once Correa couldn't hang on to the short hop at second, Torres knew he could take third. The key from there was picking up the activity—or lack thereof—of Astros' pitcher Ryan Pressly.
"I ran to third and I know Maldonado is trying to cover the base, but in that moment I remembered as I'm coming to the second base, I saw the pitcher stay on the mound," Torres explained. "In that moment, I knew nobody's on home plate, so I just kept running. I believed Maldonado couldn't run back to home plate so I just took advantage of the opportunity."
The shortstop went on to relate his play to what Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatís Jr. are known for on the bases, providing a spark by scoring from third base on fly balls in the infield. Torres said he's always thinking of ways to steal extra bases, anticipating situations ahead of time.
It certainly helps that Torres has been on base regularly over the last few weeks. The 24-year-old started the year hitting .182 through his first 15 games. He's now reached in each of his last 11 games, batting .308/.426/.385 (12-for-39) with six runs, three doubles, five RBI and eight walks in that span.
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