The New York Yankees won their 10th straight series, a first since 1954, sweeping both games against the Atlanta Braves. Their now previously unfathomable 11-game winning streak is their longest since 1985. While keeping pace with the consistent Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees extended their Wild Card lead to 2.5 games over Boston and 4.5 over Oakland. Here’s how the two-game set played out.
Stanton, Sanchez Sustain Substantial Streak
Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez cracked clutch two-out hits to propel the Yankees to a 5-1 win on Monday. The win brought the Yankees’ win streak to a season-high 10 games, coincidentally snapping the Braves’ 9-game streak. Stanton opened the scoring in the 2nd, lacing a Huascar Ynoa slider into the right-field stands. But Dansby Swanson answered in the bottom half with a solo shot off Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees lefty would settle down thereafter, though lacking command and with help from two sparkling catches from Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge.
The top of the 6th proved to be the turning point. Two-out walks to DJ LeMahieu and Gallo allowed Stanton an at-bat with RISP. He pulverized another cement-mixer slider, this time with an EV of 119.2mph, for a two-run double. With the lead, Aaron Boone utilized a double-switch, replacing Stanton with Brett Gardner and relieving Montogomery with Jonathan Loaisiga. The Nicaraguan flame-thrower struck out four Braves over two shutout innings. That led to another two-out rally in the top of the 8th. Judge roped a single, Gallo walked, forcing Braves manager Brian Snitker to bring in Jesse Chavez. The longtime reliever subsequently walked pinch-hitter, Luke Voit, loading the bases for Sánchez. With a 3-1 count, Sánchez grounded sinker through the shifted infield, plating two vital insurance runs. That 5-1 lead stuck, as Wandy Peralta and Aroldis Chapman combined to close out the win for the Yankees.
Yankees Barely Edge by Braves to Make it 11 Straight W’s
The Yankees came from behind to beat the Braves 5-4 on Tuesday evening thanks to two terrific defensive sequences and a valiant appearance by Wandy Peralta. Aaron Judge and Bronx native, Andrew Velazquez, were at the heart of it defensively. Their two relays scythed down a potential game-tying run and halted an 8th inning rally. Both calls were challenged by the Braves but upheld upon review. While Judge’s contributions are well-known, Velazquez continues to play a key role for the Yankees while the club’s bonafide starters near returns. He singled to lead off the 5th ahead of LeMahieu’s go-ahead two-run homer. After that, the Yankees barely looked back, with Rougned Odor adding a no-doubter to extend the lead in the 7th.
Andrew Heaney fell behind early, allowing a two-out, two-run double to Swanson. But Stanton picked up Heaney with his second homer in consecutive days. Sánchez leveled the score with a shift-breaking RBI single in the 4th, scoring Judge from third. Those terrific relays from Velazquez came within another gutsy display from the Yankees patchwork bullpen. Albert Abreu, Joely Rodríguez, and the returning Clay Holmes combined with Chad Green for four innings of one-run relief. But in the end, of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing. Chapman came on in the ninth and loaded the bases with zero fastball command and insufficient guile on his breaking pitches. After a bases-loaded walk put the Braves within one, Peralta came on to face reigning NL-MVP Freddie Freeman. What followed was a nine-pitch chess match, ending in Freeman flying a shot deep to left-center, but into the glove of Gallo to seal the Yankees victory.
Injury Notes and a Look Ahead
The Yankees travel to Oakland for a seismic four-game set against the A’s this weekend. While the A’s have hit a skid recently, losing eight of their last ten, a series win for either side narrows or extends the distance between the clubs. Jameson Taillon is expected to start against former Yankees farmhand James Kaprielian on Thursday, with Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Montgomery to follow.
There’s been both encouraging and discouraging movement on the injury front for the Yankees, as is tradition. Zack Britton is slated to see a specialist for his elbow in Los Angeles when the Yankees visit the Angels. Boone regrettably stated that surgery is not off the table. Luis Severino will join Britton on the specialist visit to get another opinion on his shoulder and whether he’s ready to resume throwing. This evening, Corey Kluber joined Double-A Somerset for his third rehab game, throwing 60 pitches to 18 batters. The starter rubbed elbows with his major league teammates Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres as well, though the latter just resumed baseball activities. Urshela’s 1-4 outing on Tuesday marked his final rehab appearance, as he’s expected to join the club in Oakland for the weekend series.