After about two weeks of streaky play, the Yankees finally got back to their winning ways against the Atlanta Braves. This was just the kind of weekend that they needed after playing some much tougher competition in the past 10 days, as they cruised to a victory in the first game, and used that confidence to complete the sweep. Fans should be hopeful that this will kickstart a late-season push for the division title.
In the first game, they got going early to roll to a 15-4 victory. A 5-run first and a 4-run second set the tone and basically ended the ballgame before Atlanta knew it. Williams Perez didn’t make it through that barrage, allowing 8 of those runs in 1.2 innings. Didi Gregorius was a one-man highlight reel on offense, tallying 4 hits and a career-high 6 RBI including a first inning 3-run homer. The team tacked on 4 more in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to blow the game open in the late stages. The other big contributors for the Yankees were Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, and Stephen Drew, who each had multi-hit games.
Unlike his counterpart, Masahiro Tanaka pitched well. He gave up just 5 hits and 3 runs in 7 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.62. Not only was he supported by his offense, but the bullpen held the large lead after he departed. Justin Wilson and Bryan Mitchell allowed just 1 run in the final 2 innings, ensuring that a major implosion wouldn’t happen. For the Braves, Freddie Freeman had a solid game with 2 hits and 2 RBI. Nick Swisher and Christian Bethancourt also chipped in an RBI in the losing effort.
The middle game was the only pitcher’s duel in the series. Luis Severino tossed 6 scoreless innings and struck out 5 in his 5th big league start. He left with a 1-0 lead and earned his second MLB win. Atlanta’s only run came on a Jonny Gomes groundout off of Wilson in the 7th. While the Braves tallied 8 hits, they went 1-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Offensively, the Yankees were held up by another big hit by Gregorius, who doubled in the top of the 7th to give the pinstripes an insurance run that they would desperately need. Brian McCann also contributed with an 8th inning double. The Yankees were outhit in this game, but they got the ones that counted en route to a 3-1 win.
Offense was the name of the game in the finale. The Yankees pounded out 21 hits and demolished the Braves 20-6 to earn the sweep. It didn’t always look so rosy, as the Braves cut it to 8-5 in the bottom of the 6th, but the bombers put them away with a 9-run 7th. All of the scoring in that inning came without any of the Yankees’ three homers in the game. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Chase Headley each homered in the contest, and Drew had 4 hits and 4 RBI. Every starter except the pitcher had a hit, and they still left 24 men on base.
Nathan Eovaldi didn’t pitch as well as he did in his last 2 starts, but it didn’t really matter. He went 5 and allowed 5 runs, which normally wouldn’t earn the win, but today’s ballgame was far from normal. In that 6th inning, Andrelton Simmons had a 2-run single and Gomes added a soft RBI single to trim what was a 7-0 lead. Simmons and Freeman had 2 hits, and Garcia had 3.
This was a much needed sweep, highlighted by the offensive domination by the Yankees. There were plenty of interesting performances, let’s take a look at them.
Offensive MVP: Didi Gregorius- 8 RBI, 7-12 series including a homer.
Cold Streak: Jacoby Ellsbury- 4 hits in this series isn’t that great when the offense scores 15+ runs twice.
Pitcher of the Series: Luis Severino- 6 scoreless innings to continue the beginning of his MLB career.
Mound Misery: Nathan Eovaldi- 5 runs in 5 innings slowed his roll of dominance recently.