The New York Yankees bludgeoned the Atlanta Braves 15-4, thanks to a career night from Didi Gregorius and a big game from Brian McCann in his return to Atlanta where he spent the first nine years of his career.
Masahiro Tanaka improved to 10-6 on the season as he went seven innings allowing three runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out seven. The opposing pitcher Williams Perez was horrific as he gave up eight runs in 1.2 innings.
This was Brian McCann’s first game back in Atlanta since signing with the Yankees prior to last season. Before his first at-bat, the Braves fans gave him a standing ovation. Prior to this game the Yankees had lost three out of their last four games, and scored seven runs total in those games. In the first two innings of tonight's game the Yankees scored nine runs.
The Yankees opened the flood gates in the first inning, as they loaded the bases after two quick outs in the inning. Chase Headley would start the onslaught with a two-run ground rule double. The very next batter Didi Gregorius would take Williams Perez deep for a three-run home run to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead in a blink of an eye.
The Braves would try to get back in the game in the bottom of the first as Nick Markakis and Cameron Maybin reached base back-to-back. Freddie Freeman would follow that up with an RBI single to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Nick Swisher brought home Maybin from third with a sacrifice fly, making it 5-2. With runners still on base, Christian Bethancourt sent a deep drive to center but would be robbed of a two-run base hit by Jacoby Ellsbury, keeping it a 5-2 game after one inning.
After New York began the top of the second inning with two singles and a walk to load the bases, left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler would come in and replace Perez. Detwiler walked the first two batters he faced (Greg Bird and Chase Headley), which brought in two more runs to make it 7-2 in favor of the Yankees. They weren't finished as Gregorius followed that up with a two-run single through the left side of the infield to make it 9-2.
In the bottom of the third, Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot to make it a 9-3 ballgame. Scoring for both teams wouldn't happen until the eighth inning when Brian McCann added insult to injury by belting a three-run home run, scoring Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran to bring the score to 12-3. Didi Gregorius picked up his sixth RBI of the night with a single to center field, making it 13-3.
Atlanta would bring in outfielder Jonny Gomes, who sprinted to the mound from the bullpen, to pitch the ninth inning, and he would be welcomed immediately with a solo home run by Yankees outfielder Chris Young. After a couple doubles later, McCann would add to his RBI tally with a sacrifice fly to make it a 15-3 Yankee advantage. Despite two runs in the inning, Gomes would record his first career strikeout by punching out pitcher Bryan Mitchell to end the inning. Gomes was visibly excited as the raced to the dugout in celebration.
The Braves weren’t finished, however, as Christian Bethancourt singled home Jace Peterson to make it a 15-4 game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Two batters later, Jonny Gomes got Bryan Mitchell twice by beating out an infield single. That was the end of the rally as the Yankees would finish the game with a 15-4 victory in the first game of a three-game weekend series.
Didi Gregorius bested his previous career best for RBIs in a single game. His previous career best was four RBIs against the Texas Rangers on July 27th of this year. Tonight he drove in six RBIs in the Yankees' winning effort.
With a win by the Toronto Blue Jays tonight, the Yankees remain 1.5 games out of first place in the AL East. However, they hold down the first AL Wild Card spot and lead the second Wild Card team by four games.
The Yankees look to beat up on the Braves once again tomorrow as they send rookie right-hander Luis Severino (1-2, 2.74 ERA) to the mound. The Braves look to get back on the right track with Matt Wisler (5-4, 5.43 ERA) on the mound.