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Highly criticized Yankees duo comes through at crucial time

If it was up to many Yankees fans, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres would never see the field again.

But the two highly criticized Yankees played huge roles in Wednesday’s comeback 7-3 win over Texas, which propelled the Yankees back into the second wild-card spot in the AL, ahead of the Blue Jays, who lost to Tampa Bay.

With the game tied in the eighth, Torres followed Joey Gallo’s two-out double with a double of his own to give the Yankees their first lead and then scored from second on an infield single by Gio Urshela and an error by Yonny Hernandez at second.

“The at-bat before with the bases loaded [in the sixth] I struck out,’’ Torres said. “I wanted to put the ball in play.”

He scored later in the eighth, and Sanchez iced the game with a homer.

Sanchez, who started the game on the bench, entered in the top of the eighth after Kyle Higashioka was pulled for pinch-runner Tyler Wade.

Gary Sanchez
Robert Sabo

He made an immediate impact, making a perfect throw to second to prevent Adolis Garcia from stealing the base.

“When he’s rolling, we’re a great team,’’ Higashioka said of Sanchez. “It was great to see that swing from him.”

Higashioka, regularly catching both Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber now, will still get plenty of playing time, but Sanchez won’t be forgotten.

“It’s gonna take both of them to get us where we want to go,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll do what we have to do every day to piece it together.”

Gleyber Torres celebrates in the dugout Wednesday night.1
Gleyber Torres celebrates in the dugout Wednesday night.1
Robert Sabo

Both players have had their roles scrutinized and changed in recent weeks, with Sanchez losing playing time behind the plate, to Torres being bumped from shortstop to second base.

The Yankees haven’t given up on either player, with Boone saying, “It’s all hands on deck.”

He credited Sanchez with “a huge throw and a huge swing to put the game away.”

And he was encouraged by what he saw from Torres, whose move to second base has forced DJ LeMahieu to go to third and Urshela to shortstop.

Torres belted an opposite-field double, something that used to be commonplace.

“We’ve seen that a lot from him,’’ Boone said of Torres. “That’s what he’s capable of. That’s why it’s so important to get him rolling. He’s a difference-maker.”

Hitting sixth, behind the lefty-swinging Gallo, could help Torres, according to Boone.

“I know he’s gonna get opportunities the rest of the way,’’ Boone said. “He can use the whole field. We need him to play at a high level and that was great situational hitting.”

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