The Yankees lead the majors with 21 comeback victories, and when Joey Gallo made contact with Hector Neris' first-pitch fastball with two on in the eighth inning Saturday, much of the Stadium crowd — and more than a few in the home dugout — felt they were about to record another one.
Off the bat, the drive sounded like one that might leave the park, but it did something rare for balls hit in the heat of the summer to rightfield here. It died, in this case into the glove of Kyle Tucker on the warning track, just in front of the short porch.
“Yeah,” Jose Trevino said, asked if the feeling in the dugout was that the ball was headed out. “He put a good swing on it. You can’t hope for anything more but just a good at-bat there, and that’s what he did. Put a good swing on the ball and it just didn’t get out.”
If it had cleared the wall, it would have given the Yankees a 3-2 lead. As it turned out, they were held hitless by three Astros pitchers in a 3-0 loss.
Even after J.J. Matijevic’s homer off Gerrit Cole in the seventh and Jose Altuve's homer off Michael King in the eighth, Aaron Boone said he felt confident in a comeback, even with the way the Astros were pitching.
“I still felt like we were absolutely going to get there,” Boone said. “I thought we had really good at-bats in the eighth there.”
Happy to see anyone on the mound but Cristian Javier, who struck out 13 in seven innings, Aaron Hicks led off the eighth against Neris with a walk. DJ LeMahieu worked a one-out walk to bring Gallo to the plate.
“Joey just misses one,” Boone said. “When the chips were down there, where we had a chance to grab it, I thought we had our best at-bats of the day. We just didn’t find the hole in that inning when we had our chance.”
No issues with Josh
When Josh Donaldson led off the second inning Friday night with a long drive to right-center, Boone’s preference would have been to see him run hard out of the box. Donaldson admired his blast and flipped his bat, but instead of clearing the wall, the ball hopped over for a ground-rule double.
Still . . .
“JD plays his butt off,” Boone said. “Any time a guy hits a ball, does something and it doesn’t go out, you kind of look at it and address it. My biggest thing is: are my guys playing their butt off? And JD’s a guy I have no issue with.”
Donaldson, who reached third later in the inning, heard a bit of talkback from the visitor’s dugout, though that might have been more because when he dropped his bat, it glanced off catcher Jason Castro.
Chappy closing in
All indications are that Aroldis Chapman came through his rehab outing Friday night with Double-A Somerset OK. He’ll have one more outing, Boone said, early this week, and the Yankees are likely to return him to the roster soon after that. Chapman has been on the injured list since May 24 with left Achilles tendinitis,
Jonathan Loaisiga, out since May 25 with right shoulder inflammation, threw a bullpen session Saturday, the first of his rehab. He’s still an undetermined amount of time from being declared ready for even a rehab assignment, but progressing to bullpen sessions is not an insignificant development.
“It was good to see Lo out there today, I thought it looked great for his first time back on the mound,” Boone said. “We had to kind of slow him down because he felt so good. But he looked really good, so that’s really exciting.”