MILWAUKEE — Two disturbing trends continued for the Yankees on Saturday night: When Aaron Judge doesn’t homer, they don’t win, and their struggles on the road persisted.
The Yankees have lost eight of the last 12 games in which Judge has been held without a homer, including this 4-1 loss to the Brewers, after which their AL East lead over the second-place Blue Jays fell to 4 ½ games thanks to Toronto’s win over Baltimore. The Blue Jays have won four of their last five.
The loss also dropped the Yankees to 10-22 on the road since July 9, when their once-historic season began taking a turn for the worse.
The inability of the Yankees to win without Judge’s power is hardly a surprise, considering the lack of production from the rest of the lineup.
While Judge, the leadoff hitter, reached base twice, he remained at 57 homers, and most of his teammates — including Giancarlo Stanton — struggled again at the plate. Hitting right behind Judge, Stanton struck out in all four of his at-bats and he has whiffed 11 times in his last four games.
The Yankees’ only run came on Josh Donaldson’s homer to lead off the top of the fourth against right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who also struck out 10 in his eight innings.
Woodruff easily outdueled Jameson Taillon, who was roughed up for four runs in five innings, the big blow coming from shortstop Willy Adames, who hit his second three-run homer against the Yankees in as many nights.
This loss came a night after the Yankees blew a five-run lead and lost 7-6 to the Brewers. After leaving 11 runners on base Friday, the Yankees stranded a runner at second base in each of the first three innings Saturday.
Adames hit his three-run blast in the bottom of the third to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
Donaldson followed by leading off the fourth with his 15th homer of the season, going deep on consecutive nights as well, to make it 3-1.
Miguel Andujar then reached on a two-base throwing error by Adames. The Brewers shortstop came back to make a nice play on Oswaldo Cabrera’s grounder to his left, however, and Andujar ended up stranded at second as Woodruff got out of the inning.
The Yankees fell further behind in the fifth— after they left yet another runner in scoring position in the top of the inning — when Christian Yelich hit a double into the right field corner to score Garrett Mitchell from first base.
With Yelich on third, Adames hit a fly ball to right, but Yelich decided not to try to test Judge’s arm and it stayed a three-run game.
It didn’t matter, as the Yankees finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the night, with their hopes tied to the return of Anthony Rizzo on Sunday and DJ LeMahieu and Harrison Bader during the upcoming homestand.
“We’re still beat up and banged up,’’ manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “But we’re also excited for the return of some key guys.”
For now, Judge is the only player performing on a consistent basis.