BALTIMORE — Bruised and battered accurately describes the wounded Yankees, but for one day they weren’t beaten.
Lowered into an early ditch by starter James Paxton, the Yankees rode the power of Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit to an 8-4 victory over the Orioles on Thursday in front of a home opener crowd of 44,182 at Camden Yards.
Torres, who went 4-for-4, hit a solo homer in the third and a three-run blast in the sixth when the Yankees erased a four-run deficit. Sanchez also homered in the sixth and Voit turned a 5-4 lead into an 8-4 advantage in the ninth. Voit had one hit in his previous 18 at-bats.
In his second Yankee start, Paxton gave up three runs in the first inning and one in the fifth, but copped the victory. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 ²/₃ innings.
Prior to the win, manager Aaron Boone spoke about his club that has a whopping 11 players on the injured list and had lost two of three games to the woeful O’s and Tigers at home before leaving the Bronx for the first time this season.
“They are good and in the right frame of mind. Had a little bump in the road on our opening homestand and getting hit obviously with injuries here early but such is the nature of the big-league season,’’ said Boone, whose club halted a two-game slide. “We just happened to get hit a little bit early. We will be better for having gone through this and we will come storming out of this.’’
The Yankees didn’t storm and it remains to be seen if they are out of the early-season funk. But they did win, which still counts for something, even if teams like the Orioles and Tigers don’t have the stomach for it.
Orioles starter Alex Cobb split with two outs in the sixth after Sanchez’s solo homer to center pulled the Yankees within two runs. Mike Wright surfaced from the bullpen and gave up singles to Greg Bird and DJ LeMahieu before getting ahead of Torres, 0-2. The third pitch landed in the left-field seats for Torres’ second homer of the game and a 5-4 Yankee lead.
Paxton gave up a leadoff bloop single to Joey Rickard starting the home sixth, and after striking out Chris Davis was replaced by right-hander Tommy Kahnle to face the right-handed hitting Jesus Sucre.
Kahnle, who walked the first three batters in his previous appearance but got out of the mess unscored on, walked Sucre on five pitches. He fell behind Richie Martin, the No. 9 hitter, 3-1, before feeding him a 6-4-3 double play ball that ended the scoring threat.
Kahnle hurled a clean seventh inning and was followed by Zack Britton for the eighth. Aroldis Chapman recorded the final three outs in the ninth working in a non-save situation.
Paxton allowed a single in the second, third and fourth innings but not a run. He was helped by Sanchez throwing out Rio Ruiz diving back into first when a pitch in the dirt was blocked by the Yankees’ catcher to end the third.
The lefty wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth, when Renato Nunez’s two-out ground single to center scored Dwight Smith Jr. from second for a 4-1 lead. Smith laced an opposite-field double to left with one out and watched Paxton whiff Trey Mancini before scoring.
Torres’ leadoff double in the fifth put the Yankees in position to cut into the O’s 3-1 lead, but Cobb didn’t allow Torres to score. Clint Frazier made the first out with a ground ball up the middle and Tyler Wade’s grounder to the right side advanced Torres to third, but Brett Gardner, who singled to center in the previous two at-bats, popped to short center and stranded Torres.
Trailing 3-0, the Yankees cut the deficit to two runs in the third with Torres’ first homer of the season, which landed in the left-field seats.
Paxton’s second outing as a Yankee couldn’t have started worse, as he served a homer, issued two walks, gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and balked in the first inning.
Jonathan Villar, a switch hitter batting from the right side, stroked a 0-1 pitch inside the right-field foul pole to start the O’s first home inning of the season with his second home run. With one out Mancini walked and Nunez singled to left. A walk to Ruiz loaded the bases for Rickard, and Paxton balked in Mancini before throwing a wild pitch that plated Nunez for a 3-0 lead.
Paxton recovered to fan Rickard and Davis to end the inning that required the lefty to throw 32 pitches.