The Braves pulled out a close one in 11 innings against the Yankees Monday night, 5-3. This win extends their current streak to 4 games, and their lead over Philadelphia in the National League East is now up to 3½ games.
In a game between two of the best teams in baseball, one which that had a distinct playoff feel, this was a statement win for Atlanta. To march into Yankee Stadium and beat a Yankees team that was 31-12 at home is huge for this young and exciting Braves team.
They are now 4-0 since tonight’s hero, Ronald Acuña, was activated off the disabled list.
It wasn’t Anibal Sanchez’s greatest or cleaning outing, but he did an admirable job of keeping the potent Yankees offense in check, allowing only 3 runs over 6 innings. His 98 pitches surpassed his longest outing of the year.
After Yankees starter Jonathan Loaisiga only made it through 4 frames, New York had to rely on its bullpen to work 7 innings, which could impact them for the rest of the series.
The Yankees took an early lead in the 1st inning on an Aaron Judge solo homer that barely cleared the short porch in right field. It is doubtful this ball would have gone out of any park other than Yankee Stadium.
In the 3rd inning, Johan Camargo emulated Judge and made use of the short porch, taking a Loaisiga slider into the right field seats. The Yankees took the lead right back in the bottom of the inning, as Gleyber Torres doubled to right center, then came around to score on two wild pitches.
The Braves kept it interesting the following inning. Nick Markakis slapped a one-out double into right, and Kurt Suzuki followed with an RBI double after an incredibly entertaining 11-pitch at-bat. Three pitches later, a Ronald Acuña screamer down the left field line brought Suzuki home to bring the score to 3-2 Braves.
The Yankees tied it up during the 5th, as a one-out single from Torres was followed by consecutive walks to Brett Gardner and Judge. A Didi Gregorius sacrifice fly brought Torres home to tie the game at 3, then a popup off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton brought the rally to an end.
The Braves bullpen flirted with danger after Sanchez was lifted in lieu of Sam Freeman to start the 7th inning - same with Dan Winkler after him in the 8th - but neither of the Braves relievers allowed a run to cross.
Noted flamethrower Aroldis Chapman came on during the 9th inning, and touched 104 mph multiple times. He managed to struck out Suzuki, Acuña, and Culberson - all on sliders. Meanwhile, Jesse Biddle came on for the Yankees half of the 9th, and after a leadoff single from Torres, induced a double play from Gardner, then struck out Aaron Judge. To extras we go!
Both teams had their chances to break through in the 10th inning - the Yankees in particular, after an Aaron Hicks ground-rule double put runners at second and third with one out - but Betances and Biddle both managed to shut down their opposition.
The Yankees sent David Robertson, their fifth reliever of the night, out to face the Braves in the 11th, and Markakis reached on leadoff error from Torres. Suzuki grounded into a force out, and Danny Santana came on to pinch run. There are few Braves you would want up in this situation more than Ronald Acuña, and he showed why - he took advantage of the short porch in right, poking one just over Aaron Judge’s head and off his glove for a two-run homer. It was beautiful.
The Braves went up 5-3 and held on for the win.
AJ Minter came on to pitch the 11th, and worked around a two-out walk to Aaron Judge to nail down the save.
These two teams will do it again tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 7:05pm EST.