Aaron Boone said the decision to have Luke Voit bat the lowest in the order he has all season and the first baseman’s recent mini-slump were not related.
Voit, who had struggled in four games since coming off the injured list, was dropped to seventh in the order for the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rays. Voit, who had been 3-for-16 with no homers and nine strikeouts since his return, went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory.
Voit was at DH and batted fifth in the second game. He tied the score at 1-1 in the fifth inning with his 18th homer, a 419-foot drive to center off Charlie Morton.
“It really came down to today, the four, five or seven spot could have gone any way with Gary [Sanchez], Edwin [Encarnacion] and Voit,” Boone said before Game 1. “So in a lot of ways, kind of a toss-up for me knowing those were the slots I wanted those righties in.”
Before Thursday, the lowest Voit had hit in a starting role this season was fifth, and that was only one game. He batted second in 44 games and third in 29 games.
Encarnacion, who had hit three homers in his previous two games and was 6-for-16 since the All-Star break, hit cleanup in Game 1, followed by Sanchez. “Obviously, Edwin’s getting more locked in,” Boone said. “I could have gone either way with it, frankly.”
Domingo German’s performance Thursday (two runs in six innings) made it 10 out of 12 games this month in which Yankees starters allowed two or fewer runs. They have a 2.88 ERA in July.
Gio Urshela went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in the first game, giving him nine homers and 45 RBIs in 77 games this season. He entered the season with eight homers and 39 RBIs in the first 167 games of his career.
The start of Game 1 was delayed by a threatening forecast, making it 16 Yankees games this season affected by weather, with 13 of them at home. Nine of their 12 home series since the start of May have included a postponement and/or rain delay.