Bronx Cheers: Yanks Finish Disappointing Homestand

AP Photo/Pamela Smith

Left hander Max Fried pitched six strong innings and Jarred Kelenic stayed hot as the Braves beat the offensively challenged Yankees, 3-1 on a sultry Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

With the loss, the Yankees completed a 2-4 homestand against the Orioles and Braves and dropped their third straight series. The Yankees had lost three of the previous 22 series before this one and have lost seven of their last ten games overall.

Nobody’s hanging their heads, nobody’s panicking here. Just a rough patch, 162 games you’re gonna go through, we just gotta figure a way to get out of it,” said Nestor Cortes, who went seven innings and pitched well. The left hander gave up three runs on five hits but took the loss as the Yankees offense failed to produce against Fried and the Atlanta bullpen.

I thought Nestor was really good, Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said. “That was about as good a stuff as Nestor’s had.” Not good enough with the way the Yankee offense has been lately.

The first six hitters in the Yankees lineup went 3 for 23. In his last 10 games, Juan Soto is 7 for 33 (.212) with 1 HR and three runs batted in. D.J. LeMahieu is 5 for 33 (.152) in his last 10 starts with 0 HRS and five RBIs, including 3 in one game, while Alex Verdugo is 6 for 40 (.150) with 1 HR and 6 RBIs in his last 10 starts.

In the third, the Braves snapped a scoreless tie. With two out, Kelenic, who extended his hitting streak to ten straight games, didn’t waste time as he drove the first pitch from Cortes just to the right of the Yankee bullpen into the right center field stands for his 7th home run of the season and a 1-0 lead. Kelenic had a second RBI with a sacrifice fly while Ozzie Albies drove in the third run with a single.

In his last ten games, (9 in the lead off spot) the former first round pick of the Mets is 13 for 41 and has raised his average from .258 to .270. He’s also hitting .324 with 3 HRS and 6 runs batted since being penciled in as the everyday lead off batter for the last eight games (Kelenic had one previous game as the lead off hitter where he went 3 for 4).

Fried, who entered the game with a 3.11 ERA, held the Yankees off the board until the 6th. Trent Grisham blooped a single to right center to lead off the inning and he scored on Anthony Volpe’s long double to the gap in left center field. The Braves ace gave up a run on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. 

I thought he [Fried] threw the ball well, we obviously pressured him, some good at bats there in the sixth,” Boone said. “Had a chance to really break through, just couldn’t quite do it today.”

Soto grounded to short but Anthony Volpe was thrown out by Orlando Arcia as he tried to advance to third. The grounder was behind Volpe, who didn’t made an egregious decision to go but he didn’t have a good secondary lead off second. Arcia saw that and took a chance with a two run lead but executed the play to help stymie the rally. “It’s behind him [Volpe], it’s actually a risky play by their part,” Boone said.

The Yankees challenged, claiming interference by third baseman Austin Riley but the call stood. “You certainly don’t want to call it if you’re not sure of it, I get that part of it so I guess it’s a tough call,” said Boone. “We’re seeing it, I feel like a lot and it’s just kinda, it’s gonna get called one time on a ticky-tack and I’ll probably lose my mind, but I understand the tough situation the umpires are in.”

It happened so quick, you’re just trying to get there safe,” Volpe said. “Just a weird play, I don’t know if he’s blocking but you gotta try and get to the base.”

After the play at third, Aaron Judge singled to put two runners on but the struggling Verdugo killed the rally altogether by bouncing into a 6-6-3 double play.

The Yankees could only manage a Ben Rice single with two out in the 7th as they were shutdown by three Braves relievers (Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez and Raisel Iglasias).

Before the game, the Yankees placed Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day IL with a mild hamstring strain and acquired former Met J.D. Davis from the A’s for minor league infielder Jordan Groshans and cash considerations.

This latest IL sting will be Stanton’s eighth in the last six seasons. “Feelings don’t really matter, time is just gonna be about four weeks, gotta do what I can to get there,” he said.

Davis will likely get the start on Tuesday when the Yankees play the first of two against the Mets at Citifield and are scheduled to send left hander David Peterson to the mound.

Hopefully come here and give us a little spark, especially get him in there against left handed pitching,” Boone said. “He [Davis] hit left hand pitching well over the last couple of years and hopefully, just where we are, couple of injuries down, hopefully he can give us a little shot in the arm and be a piece to us win some games,” Boone said.

No matter where the teams are in the standings or how they’re playing at the time, the Subway Series always provides a little extra for a regular season match up.

It’s New York City, biggest greatest city in the world,” Boone said. “Two great franchises. It’s one of those things I talk a lot about this in a different way. In the course of 162 games that has a little different kind of buzz and excitement and break in the normal monotony of the season.”

The players sense it as well.

Looking back to last year, it was one of the most fun series of the year, especially when we went over there, so I would say we’re ready. We’re ready, we’re excited,” Volpe said.

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