Didi Gregorius has been saying he felt better at the plate. Aaron Boone dropped him to seventh in the order on Monday to take some pressure off, and results followed.
Gregorius, who entered the day in a 4-for-70 slide, went 2-for-4 in the Yankees’ 5-1 loss to the Astros. It was his first multi-hit game since he went 2-for-5 on May 3 in Houston.
“My foot was down, I had more balance today,” said Gregorius, who has been working overtime with hitting coach Marcus Thames.
Gregorius’ first hit could only be categorized as lucky, a squibber that trickled up the third-base line. “Things happen. There’s only so much you can control in the game,” he said with a smile.
He singled sharply up the middle off Justin Verlander with two outs in the seventh. That was the last batter the Houston ace faced.
“I thought we saw some good swings from him,” Boone said. “I felt he got in a stronger position more consistently, hit another ball to center OK [in the second]. Look, when you’re going through a tough time, any time you can get some results, it’s always nice. Kind of takes a little bit of weight off your shoulders. But he’s going to hit. If this is the catalyst to get that going, then great.”
Gregorius, who batted third or fourth in 38 of his previous 46 starts this season, said hitting seventh did not bother him. “I don’t think there’s any holes in the lineup,” he said. “Wherever I’m hitting in the lineup doesn’t matter as long as I’m in there playing.”
Bird flies one
Greg Bird (2-for-4) hit his first homer of 2018, a shot to right off Verlander in the seventh. Bird is the first lefthanded hitter to homer off him this year (righties have gone deep four times). “Obviously don’t want to go down with a loss, but just keeping it rolling,” Bird said. “I feel good at the plate and in the field.”