Against the Blue Jays on Saturday, for the first time in 172 consecutive games, the Yankees looked as if they were about to be shut out.
Aaron Hicks finessed a walk before Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner put the Yankees in a two-out hole in the bottom of the ninth. DJ LeMahieu avoided going 0-for-5 on the day with a sharp ground ball to center field and Aaron Judge drove in Hicks to cut the deficit to one and keep the streak alive.
All eyes then were on Luke Voit, who rejoined the lineup Saturday morning after an eight-game absence with an abdominal strain he suffered on June 29 in London.
But a 97-mph, inside fastball from the Blue Jays’ Daniel Hudson caught Voit looking.
“I had good at-bats. Obviously the last two, they made good pitches, like big-league pitchers. I felt good overall,” Voit said after the 2-1 loss. “It’s frustrating because I had a chance to help the team win the game today and it didn’t come through, but that’s baseball and it’s going to happen sometimes.”
Voit knew there was going to be an opportunity with LeMahieu and Judge preceding him in the order, but despite feeling confident in his performance up to that point, the strike got away from him.
He said he was disappointed with the missed opportunity in his last at-bat, but Voit considered LeMahieu and Judge’s ability to keep the game within reach to be something special.
“There’s always a chance,” he said.
The first baseman was frustrated with some of the home-plate calls, stating umpire Andy Fletcher was “all over the plate, but it’s a strike at the end of the day.” Battling to a full count during most of his at-bats, Voit was pleased with his play at the plate overall and thought his two walks were a positive take-away.
The Yankees went 4-4 without Voit, who didn’t feel he needed a rehab assignment before returning to the lineup. He thought his week off from baseball activities was good for him, and working out in Tampa reminded him of spring training.
But Voit was welcomed back with a game-changing opportunity that he couldn’t capitalize on. It’s a chance he likely hopes to get again, as the Yankees will try to take the final contest of the three-game series on Sunday.