The Yankees’ winning streak ended at eight games Sunday when they lost to the Astros, 9-4, at the Stadium, but another streak lives on.
DJ LeMahieu’s three-run home run to right-centerfield in the fifth inning gave the Yankees 26 straight games with at least one home run, the most in franchise history and second in MLB history.
Only the 2002 Rangers (27 games) went on a longer power binge. Before this season, the Yankees’ previous high was 25 games in June 1941.
“It’s, in a lot of ways, one of the ways we’re built,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think we do a really good job, especially in this ballpark and especially our righthanded hitters, of being able to use the entire field, which when you play here is important if you’re going to hit for consistent power.”
LeMahieu jumped on a slider that Justin Verlander left over the middle, sending it to the opposite field for his 10th homer. He’s the sixth Yankee with double-digit home runs and is only 15 RBIs shy of his career high of 66. He went 3-for-5, scored two runs and fell a double short of hitting for the cycle.
“DJ’s been hot right now,” Luke Voit said. “Slider low and away he can punch out there is pretty impressive.”
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this stretch is that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have contributed zero home runs. Both spent significant time on the injured list during the streak and neither has homered since returning (Stanton came back Tuesday and Judge got back in the lineup Friday).
Instead, it’s been everyone else who has contributed to a stretch in which the Yankees have gone 15-11. They are averaging 5.8 runs in that period, showcasing that the team is not sacrificing production or consistency to hit for power.
“Obviously, everybody says ‘the short porch,’ but guys are putting together good at-bats, and that’s what’s great about this team,” Voit said. “We can hit a home run at any point. Doesn’t matter who’s pitching, if it’s first inning or last inning.”
Streak home runs have been hit by Gary Sanchez (eight), LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres (six each), Voit, Gio Urshela, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin (four each), Aaron Hicks (three), Edwin Encarnacion and Clint Frazier (two each) and Didi Gregorius and Austin Romine (one each) for a total of 45.
The power became a daily talking point when the Yankees acquired Stanton before last season and continued to stockpile sluggers. The result? The Yankees haven’t been shut out in 159 consecutive games, surpassing Detroit’s streak from 2011-12 for the longest since 2002.
Home runs have been hit at high rates for the last two seasons, and the Yankees were bitten by the long ball themselves on Sunday. J.A. Happ allowed three and Luis Cessa gave up another as the Astros took a 9-0 lead in the top of the fifth.
Happ said he wouldn’t use the increased home run rates as an excuse for his performance.
“The last thing I’m going to do today is make an excuse about that,” he said. “I just didn’t get it done. That stuff is what it is. Whether that’s true or not, I have to deal with it either way. We all do.”