Yankees lose 2 more players, sweep anyway

Voit surging (with help from a friend?); Torres, Sanchez go deep

April 29th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Yankees have sharpened their focus as they wait for their injured cavalry to charge in, and even with some teammates thousands of miles away, their impact can be felt. That’s the case for , who is using Miguel Andujar’s bats to inflict serious damage on big league pitching.

Wielding that commandeered lumber, Voit stroked three hits and drove in two runs to give him a team-leading 25 RBIs. and slugged balls over the fences on Sunday afternoon, leading the Yankees to an 11-5 victory over the Giants to complete a three-game sweep by the Bay.

"It’s a tribute to our team and guys getting on base," Voit said. "I’m just driving them in in clutch situations. That’s part of it, when you hit in a spot in the middle of the order. You’ve got to drive them in when it comes."

New York has won six of seven games on its West Coast swing, as a lineup populated by second and third stringers continues to roll. Their good fortune may have continued into the trainer’s room, where infielders (right knee) and (left hand) received clean X-rays despite exiting early due to injuries.

The Yankees built an early eight-run cushion for starter , who limited the Giants to a single over the first five innings before San Francisco broke through in the sixth.

"It's fun to have the journey together, especially at this level," German said through an interpreter. "Being able to play good baseball, being able to win games, have those guys behind me and score runs for me -- it's very satisfying, understanding that we have a good chunk of the team missing."

Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez was thumped for six runs (four earned) and seven hits over three-plus innings, with the Yanks scoring twice in each of the first three frames. An error and a double play accounted for the runs in the first, Voit laced a two-run single in the second and Torres hit a two-run shot in the third.

For Voit, a first-inning walk extended his on-base streak to 38 games -- the longest active streak in the Majors -- and the single credited Voit with hits in 14 of his last 15 games.

"He’s a really good hitter," manager Aaron Boone said. "He’s really caught fire on this West Coast trip. The power, he’s getting off his 'A' swing a lot, but really controlling the strike zone. Look, it’s what we believe him to be. It's not surprising at all."

Over those 15 games, Voit is hitting .368 (21-for-57), and there should be partial credit offered to Andujar’s 34-inch, 31-ounce lumber, an ounce lighter than what Voit began the season using. Voit said he made the bat switch before last weekend's home series against the Royals.

“He's got so many hits in them," Voit said. "It’s just a comfortable bat. I have to make sure Sam Bat gets me a hundred thousand of those bats. I felt like I was late on fastballs, and I made the adjustment."

Currently preparing to play in an extended spring game on Monday in Tampa, Fla., Andujar surely understands. For a period of last season, Andujar was swinging bats left behind by former teammate Starlin Castro.

"He doesn’t care," Voit said of Andujar. "As long as I get hits, too."

Sanchez hit a 467-foot grand slam on Saturday and cleared the fences again in the sixth inning on Sunday, a two-run blast off Nick Vincent that was calculated to have traveled 430 feet by Statcast.

The homer was Sanchez’s eighth, tying Voit for the team lead, and Voit expressed incredulity when told of Sunday’s distance.

"I've got to agree with Luke," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I definitely felt that I hit this one much better."

Other than the pair of X-rays, the only bump for the Yanks came in the sixth, when German lost the command of his curveball and San Francisco took advantage.

Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval and Kevin Pillar drove home runs against German, who said he was still satisfied with an 87-pitch outing in which he permitted four runs and five hits.

"I was able to execute pitches early in the game, take the game into the sixth inning, where I was cruising and feeling really good out there," German said through an interpreter. "I was executing the plan with that in mind. Definitely, I'm pleased with the outing."

Cameron Maybin and Tyler Wade also drove home runs for the Yanks, who have won 11 of 13 to improve to a season-high six games over .500 (17-11).

"I think we've got really good makeup in that room," Boone said. "It’s something that’s important to us, to have those kind of people. I think we have that in spades in there with guys that are tough, that are prepared."