Yankees ride trio of 2-out HRs to 20-6 runaway over Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi says baseball “has a way of evening out.”
Following a sluggish end to a homestand that cost the Yankees the AL East lead, things evened out for their bats in a big way against the Braves.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each added a two-run shot and New York routed the Atlanta Braves 20-6 on Sunday to finish a three-game sweep.
The Yankees almost matched their season high for runs set in a 21-5 win at Texas on July 28. They totaled 38 in the series after scoring a combined seven while losing three of the last four games of a 5-5 homestand.
“When you struggle offensively, you’re due to get some guys hot and that was kind of what happened here,” Girardi said.
All three homers, which helped build an 8-2 lead, came with two outs. Headley and Drew, who had four hits, both drove in four runs.
“Guys in here understand there are going to be swings,” Headley said. “This is a confident group.”
The U.S. flag at Turner Field flew at half-staff and a moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of Gregory K. Murrey.
Murrey, a Braves season-ticket holder, died after falling from the upper deck to the lower-level seats on Saturday night. He was 60.
The Braves displayed a photo of Murrey on the video board during the moment of silence.
After the Braves cut the lead to 8-5, pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the Yankees’ nine-run seventh inning.
“It’s been a while since we swung the bats like this, so hopefully we can set the tone for September,” Rodriguez said.
Despite the sweep, the Yankees gained no ground on AL East-leading Toronto, which beat Detroit 9-2. The Blue Jays still lead New York by 1 1/2 games.
The Braves have lost five straight and 12 of 13. They’ve dropped nine consecutive interleague games since a win over Boston on June 17.
“They just kicked our butts,” said first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had two hits and drove in a run. “The whole series. ... That’s what that lineup is capable of doing.”
Nathan Eovaldi (14-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. He left the game after giving up three straight hits in the Braves’ three-run sixth.
Atlanta rookie Adonis Garcia led off the seventh with a homer against Branden Pinder.
Ellsbury hit his seventh homer with two outs in the second. Headley’s homer came after Julio Teheran (9-7) walked Greg Bird in the third inning. Teheran then walked Didi Gregorius before Drew’s homer to right.
Andrelton Simmons’ two-run single in the sixth — the third straight hit in the inning — knocked Eovaldi out of the game.
Pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes’ bloop single to right field off Adam Warren drove in Simmons, cutting New York’s lead to 8-5.
Brian McCann had a two-run single and Headley a two-run double in the big eighth inning.
DIGGING THE NL
Pinder, New York’s fourth pitcher, hit a run-scoring double off Jake Brigham in the eighth for his first career hit. It was the first hit by a Yankees pitcher this season.
Teheran gave up nine hits and eight runs in 4 1-3 innings. He had been 7-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 13 home starts but was hurt by three walks and the two-out homers.
Yankees: Girardi said after the game 1B Mark Teixeira (bruised right shin) is feeling “a little better” but won’t play Monday night at Boston.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (5-6) faces the Red Sox. Nova is 3-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 10 career games, including nine starts, against Boston.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz will start the opening game of a home series against the Marlins. Foltynewicz beat Miami on Aug. 8, when he allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings of Atlanta’s 7-2 win.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Yankees went 5-5 on most recent homestand.