Aaron Judge put his mark on ALDS Game 5 with a fourth-inning home run for the first run of the game.
That was the Yankees’ offense for the night. They managed only two other hits and suffered a season-ending 2-1 loss to the Rays at Petco Park in San Diego.
"We’re going to win it," Luke Voit said on Thursday after the Yankees evened the best-of-five series with a 5-1 victory in Game 4. "We’re locked and loaded."
So were the Rays pitchers. A Yankees offense that scored 45 runs in its first six postseason games — an average of 7.5 per game — was throttled by four Tampa Bay pitchers as the top-seeded Rays advanced to the ALCS against Houston.
Voit had a chance to back up his guarantee with what ended up being the Yankees’ only at-bat with a runner in scoring position in the entire game.
It was 1-1 in the sixth when the 2020 major league home run champion came up with two men on and two outs against Pete Fairbanks. The righthander blew a 100-mph fastball past Voit to end the inning.
"I felt like I let the team down," a disconsolate Voit said. "I had a terrible five games against those guys."
Voit went 2-for-18 with one home run and one RBI in the series. In terms of backing up a New York guarantee, Voit proved to be more Patrick Ewing than Mark Messier.
Starting with Voit, the final 11 Yankees batters on Friday managed one walk — by Judge in the eighth — and struck out seven times. The Yankees struck out 11 times overall.
"We lost to a really good team that I thought played a really good game against us," manager Aaron Boone said. "Obviously, being able to hold us down tonight."
Mike Brosseau gave the Rays the lead for good with an eighth-inning homer off Aroldis Chapman. For the second straight season, the Yankees went home after Chapman gave up a home run. In 2019, it was Jose Altuve’s walk-off blast in Game 6 of the ALCS in Houston.
Judge gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a leadoff shot to the 322-foot rightfield porch at Petco Park off reliever Nick Anderson, who replaced starter Tyler Glasnow in the third inning.
Gleyber Torres had a single in the fifth and Aaron Hicks had a single in the sixth. The Yankees had the big names but the Rays got the big hits, starting with Austin Meadows’ tying homer off Gerrit Cole in the fifth.
Meadows’ drive barely cleared the fence in right. Judge had it lined up and he jumped — at 6-7, he appeared to have a good chance to catch it — but his head hit the padding on top of the fence and stopped his leap cold.
"Just didn’t make the play," he said. "Had a bead on it from the get-go. Knew it was going to be close to the wall but just ran out of room. Just didn’t make the play. That changes the ballgame right there. I get up there and rob that homer, different outcome of the game. So it’s a tough one right there."
Brett Gardner actually did rob the Rays of a home run, jumping over the eight-foot leftfield wall to snare a drive by Randy Arozarena in the sixth. But the Yankees still were doomed by their offensive woes. MLB batting champ DJ LeMahieu, who hit .364 during the regular season, went 0-for-4 Friday. Judge (1-for-3) went 3-for-21 in the ALDS with two home runs and three RBIs.
Giancarlo Stanton, who hit six home runs in the first five games of the postseason, went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
In his first time up, in the second inning, Stanton swung at a 3-and-0 pitch and grounded out to third against Glasnow. Three batters later, Torres swung at a 3-and-0 pitch and hit an inning-ending fly ball to right.
Stanton, in his final at-bat, was the leadoff hitter in the ninth with the Yankees trailing 2-1. Stanton got ahead 2-and-0 and looked at three consecutive breaking-ball strikes from righthander Diego Castillo. In his last at-bat of the season, Stanton never took the bat off his shoulder.
"It was a good fight. It was a good battle," he said. "Biggest separator? They scored more runs than us."
Voit followed and struck out for the second time for out No. 2.
Gio Urshela (2-for-19 in the series) then sent a wicked line drive into the glove of third baseman Joey Wendle.
Ballgame over. Yankees season over.