Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes reacts to the solo home...

Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes reacts to the solo home run by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernández during the fifth inning of an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It’s been only two games without their superstar rightfielder, but for the Yankees, Juan was more than enough.

With Juan Soto sitting out a second straight game with left forearm inflammation, the Yankees again failed to get things going offensively on Saturday night, falling to the Dodgers, 11-3, in front of another lively sellout crowd of 48,374 at the Stadium, thousands of whom were rooting for the visitors.

The Yankees did have 10 hits, including Aaron Judge’s MLB-leading 22nd and 23rd home runs — including 17 in his last 31 games — but there wasn’t much else on the offensive highlight reel.

Aaron Boone did not offer a timeline before the game for Soto’s return, other than saying he will be down at least “a couple of days,” presumably Sunday included. Boone said after the game that Soto “ramped up” his baseball activity before the game but did not hit. He said Soto “probably” will hit before Sunday night’s game.

“I know today he felt really good and was noticeably better in his eyes,” Boone said. “It was also important, I think, that yesterday he not do much of anything baseball [activities] to try and get this calmed down. Sounded like he felt a lot better today and went through kind of his normal prep stuff that went pretty well. We’ll see what we have tomorrow.”

The Yankees (45-21), who went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position with nine stranded in Friday night’s 2-1, 11-inning loss, went 0-for-7 with 10 stranded Saturday.

When asked if Soto’s absence has had an impact on the last two games, Alex Verdugo said: “I mean, it is a big part, I’m not going to say it’s not. But at the end of the day, we’ve had our opportunities with him out of the lineup to win and we just haven’t cashed in. That’s what good teams do, good pitching teams do, they buckle down. Two outs, runners in scoring position, they buckle down. And we’re seeing that right now.”

The Dodgers (41-25) broke open a close game in the eighth when Teoscar Hernandez, who hit a solo homer off Nestor Cortes earlier in the game, added a grand slam off Tommy Kahnle to give him six RBIs and make it 8-2. Gleyber Torres made his team-leading 10th error when he booted a grounder hit by Shohei Ohtani, the inning’s second batter, to open the floodgates.

“I feel like I tried to rush [to get the double play] and I just missed the ball,’’ Torres said. “Especially in that situation, I have to make sure to get one out.”

In the ninth, Dennis Santana allowed a two-out single by Mookie Betts, walked Ohtani and gave up a two-run double by Freddie Freeman. After Will Smith walked, utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera replaced Santana and walked Teoscar Hernandez and Andy Pages to make it 11-2. Judge homered to right-center with two outs in the bottom of the inning.

Cortes allowed his share of hard contact in 5 1⁄3 innings, giving up four runs and seven hits, including two home runs. Enrique Hernandez also homered off him.

Dodgers righty Gavin Stone (7-2, 2.93) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2⁄3 innings in which he struck out six and walked two.

The Yankees squandered a scoring chance in the first. Anthony Volpe extended his on-base streak to 34 games with a leadoff single and Verdugo, batting second in place of Soto, slashed a single to left. Judge flied to center, deep enough to get Volpe to third, but Giancarlo Stanton popped to first and Anthony Rizzo fouled out to third, eliciting boos from the crowd. Rizzo went 0-for-4, dropping him to 4-for-37.

Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the second when Teoscar Hernandez homered into the Dodgers’ bullpen in left-center.

Torres and DJ LeMahieu began the bottom of the second with singles to right, putting runners on first and third, and Torres scored when Austin Wells grounded into a 4-6 forceout (Wells was called out at first for a double play but the Yankees challenged and the call was overturned).

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the third on Ohtani’s RBI single, but Judge quickly tied it in the bottom half, hammering a 1-and-2, down-the-middle 97-mph fastball at 108.1 mph into the first row of seats in leftfield. The play was reviewed as the ball hit the glove of a fan decked out in full Dodgers regalia in the first row and popped back onto the field, and the call stood.

Teoscar Hernandez homered to right in the fifth to make it 3-2.

More Yankees headlines

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.