KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beyond the fountains out in right field, the "Luke Voit Fan Club" gathered for Saturday afternoon’s day-night doubleheader opener.Added pressure?“No, more like excitement,’’ Voit said.In his first time playing as a Yankee in his home state, Voit wanted a chance to drop a home run in front of those 60 family and friends, a party organized by the slugger’s wife."That's where I usually hit them,'' Voit said of the opposite field.Instead, Voit bashed a tie-breaking home run to left field that sailed 470 feet.“To hit probably the farthest home run I’ve ever hit, in front of them, it was pretty surreal,’’ said Voit after the Yankees’ 7-3 victory against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Fueled by a five-run second inning, the first-place Yankees held on for a 6-5 win in the nightcap.Winners of seven straight games and 16 of their last 19, the Yankees (34-17) have a chance to complete a 7-0 road trip on Sunday, with Domingo German – MLB’s wins leader with nine – going against lefty Danny Duffy.
Second chanceCalled up as the “26th man,’’ Chance Adams followed “opener’’ Chad Green and pitched four innings, allowing manager Aaron Boone to stitch together the final four innings - with four high-end relievers - to sweep the split-admission doubleheader.
It was Adams' first major league win.“Pretty cool, it’s a good feeling,’’ Adams said. “But obviously, more important the team got the win.’’Traveling from Syracuse to Chicago to Kansas City beginning early Saturday morning, Adams provide “a really big pickup for us,’’ Boone said. “You can tell he’s pitching with more confidence up here.’’After a rough 2018, the right-handed prospect is now “more hunched’’ before his delivery – a change invoked by Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Tommy Phelps.“I don’t know, but it’s working,’’ Adams said of the change from his upright stance last year.Charged with three runs, largely because some catchable outfield flies dropped for hits, Adams was asked what souvenirs he took from his first big-league victory.“I got the ball,’’ he said. “That’s all that matters.’’Austin Romine (3-for-4) and Cameron Maybin (double, three RBI) each drove in two runs in the second inning of the nightc, while Aroldis Chapman earned his 250th career save.“A little more interesting than I wanted,’’ Chapman said through an interpreter, yielding an unearned run in the ninth after Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton each tossed a scoreless inning.
High, far, gone
Missouri masherA graduate of Missouri State, Voit had this series circled on his calendar.“One of my more favorite stadiums,’’ Voit said of the Royals’ park, having attended games here as a fan.Voit was drafted by the Royals (32nd round) out of Lafayette (Mo.) High School, but didn’t sign.Four years later, Voit was drafted and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, closer to his Wildwood, Missouri, home.But in less than a year as a Yankee, “he’s brought so much to the table for us,’’ manager Aaron Boone said of Voit, acquired from the Cards last July for pitchers Chasen Shreve and Gio Gallegos.“He loves coming in here and being a Yankee. They love him in that room; he brings something to the park every day from an energy standpoint.’’More: Yankees still waiting on James Paxton, who could potentially slot back into rotation soonAs Voit noted, he’s still yet to play regularly with the injured Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius.“I’m super-anxious for those guys to get back,’’ Voit said. “Maybe I’ll see more fastballs than what I’ve seen.’’But that hanger from Barlow was a gift.“Yeah, I did for a little bit,’’ Voit said of admiring his shot, even forgetting his trademark hop out of the batter’s box.“I don’t mean anything bad,’’ Voit said of watching it go for a second. “But…you don’t normally hit those very often.’’
Happ hangs 10Happ’s fastball command was as sharp as it's been, evidenced by his 10th career game with a double-digit strikeout total.“Just pitched with a little better tempo,’’ Happ said. “I’d like to say the confidence is always there, but it’s also nice to get some results.’’Against Royals starter Jakob Junis, the Yanks built a 3-0 lead on Clint Frazier’s first-inning, two-run double and a Brett Gardner (3-for-4) triple ahead of Gio Urshela’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
Into the sixth, Happ (4-3) had retired 15 straight batters before a one-out bunt hit by Billy Hamilton and a single by Nicky Lopez was followed by Merrifield’s game-tying, three-run blast to left.That one stunned Happ, who gave up four hits and walked none. “I’m responsible for that,’’ Happ said of the 14th homer he’s yielded in 11 starts this year. “But as far as how I threw the ball, I feel better than maybe the results.’’