In both of his games since returning from the injured list, New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit has delivered big hits.
The Yankees hope to get another contribution from Voit when they host the Kansas City Royals in the rubber game of a three-game series on Thursday afternoon.
Voit is 3-for-8 since being activated from the IL following a 23-game absence caused by a strained right oblique. On Tuesday, he homered on the first pitch he saw and later tripled, but the Yankees dropped a 6-5 decision.
A night later, Voit struck out three times but wound up driving in the winning run. His one-out single in the ninth inning off Greg Holland gave New York a walk-off, 6-5 victory.
"Man, he put a good swing on that last one," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the 2019 major league home run leader. "It's really good to see him. We know the impact that he has and the length that he adds to our lineup."
The Yankees are 10-4 in the games Voit has played. They held an 18-16 record in the 34 games he missed to start the season with a knee injury. New York has now won six of the past eight following a 4-11 skid.
In each of New York's past six wins, the go-ahead run scored in the sixth inning or later. The Yankees won that way three times in Buffalo over the Toronto Blue Jays last week, then notched two late-inning wins over the Oakland Athletics last weekend before Voit ended Wednesday's game.
"Those guys are resilient," Boone said. "They're fighting. We understand how tough this season has been so far, and they continue to grind, continue to fight."
The Royals are hoping to win the series after scoring seven of their 11 runs in the eighth inning or later so far. They produced a four-run eighth off Jonathan Loaisiga on Tuesday and then scored three times off Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman late in the Wednesday game.
Carlos Santana homered off Britton in the eighth, and the Royals got a bases-loaded walk by Sebastian Rivero and a check-swing RBI single by Ryan O'Hearn off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
"I'm proud of our guys just getting to the point where we were at that point, an opportunity to take that one home, but unfortunately it didn't work," Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
Kansas City has lost 13 of its past 17 games, with six of those defeats by one run.
New York's Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.59 ERA) will start Thursday, looking to break an eight-game winless skid. Since his only win on May 1 against the Detroit Tigers, he is 0-2 with a 5.80 ERA.
Taillon last started Friday, when he took a no-decision in a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He allowed two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, six days after getting only one out in Philadelphia.
Taillon's lone start against Kansas City occurred on Sept. 18, 2018, when he gave up four hits in seven scoreless innings and recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in a no-decision.
Brad Keller (6-7, 6.34 ERA) takes the mound Thursday for Kansas City, which used seven pitchers Wednesday. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA over his past three starts.
On Friday, Keller allowed five runs on five hits in five innings of a 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Before the rough patch, Keller was 4-0 with a 3.62 ERA in five starts.
Keller is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two career appearances against the Yankees. His lone start against New York came on July 28, 2018, when he allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings during a 10-5 win at Yankee Stadium.
--Field Level Media