Juan Soto of the Yankees reacts after hitting a solo...

Juan Soto of the Yankees reacts after hitting a solo home run during the seventh inning of a game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday in Boston. Credit: Getty Images/Jaiden Tripi

BOSTON — Juan Soto called the achievement “pretty cool,” and one he was unaware of before being informed of it by a reporter.

Soto extended his streak of reaching base at least two times to a personal-best 11 games on Saturday night.

“I’m just trying to be on base for the guys behind me and try to give the team a chance to win a ballgame,” Soto said Saturday night after going 1-for-3 with a homer and two walks in an 8-4 loss to the Red Sox.

Soto entered Sunday night’s game hitting .319 with 18 homers, a .435 on-base percentage and a 1.034 OPS.

“That’s the most impressive thing about him is his ability to get on base,” said DJ LeMahieu, a two-time batting champion. “He can hit the ball a long ways, too, but just his ability to see the ball and have really good at-bats is what separates him.”

LeMahieu is among many Yankees hitters — pretty much all of them, actually — who took note of Soto’s preparation from the time spring training began. Hitters would watch Soto, known for having the best eye in the game, go about his work on the field and in the cages.

“I watched it in spring training. I even watch it during the year, right now,” hitting coach James Rowson said Sunday of his hitters observing Soto. “I think great players . . . players at this level are always looking to get better, looking for things to do, looking to have those conversations. I definitely see our guys having conversations among each other about those things, and he sticks out.”

Though Saturday’s homer was impressive — an opposite-field shot over the Green Monster in left-center on a 2-and-2 sweeper that was in the upper part of the zone and on the outer part of the plate — his first-inning walk against Cooper Criswell was, too.

Criswell put Soto in an 0-and-2 hole after two pitches, but Soto generally shrugs off being down in the count. His mannerisms, including the Soto Shuffle, never change.

His approach when he’s down 0-and-2? “Don’t strike out,” he said with a laugh. “Definitely just try to battle. I really study the pitchers, I know what they have and what they’re going to try to do. You can see after the first two pitches if they’re going to try to attack or make me chase. So I just try to stay in my strike zone, stay in my power and try to do damage from there.”

He added later: “I mean, I love it. I ain’t scared to be 0-2. I’m right there, I’m fighting every pitch. I don’t mind if I [give you] two strikes. I’ll be grinding the whole at-bat.”

Few have done that better than Soto this season.

Entering Sunday, he had reached base in 62 of his 70 games. He also had done so multiple times in 45 games and three times in an MLB-leading 23.

It speaks to his overall consistency, but Soto has been especially hot of late, slashing .358/.505/.778 with nine homers, three doubles, two triples, 28 runs, 24 walks and 21 RBIs in his previous 24 games.

And he has been, to use a word many on the analytics crowd dismiss, “clutch.” Going into Sunday, Soto was slashing .396/.478/.774 with five homers, three doubles, a triple, 11 walks and 39 RBIs in 53 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

“Preparation and attention to detail,” Rowson said of Soto’s overall success. “If you’re looking on the baseball end of it, he’s never caught off guard. He knows exactly what opposing pitchers have, he knows exactly how they’re going to attack him because he spends time preparing for it. So not only is the talent what it is, we can see that every day, but I don’t think everyone can see how well he prepares behind the scenes every day.”

There was a recent injury scare as Soto left a June 6 game against the Twins with left forearm inflammation. He missed the next three games against the Dodgers before returning last Monday night against the Royals. All has been good on that front, he said.

“I’ve been making a couple throws, like today [Saturday] I made a couple throws and it was pretty good,” he said. “It’s been reacting really well. Like in the morning when I wake up, it’s really loosened up. We don’t have to do too much work on it. We’re still working but, little by little, we’re getting to 100%.”

More Yankees headlines


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.