Dan's Dugout: Braves Outlast Heat, Jeers, Yankee Pen • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Braves Outlast Heat, Jeers, Yankee Pen

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NEW YORK – Just when the Yankees and Braves thought they would play Beat the Heat, their meeting at Yankee Stadium Monday night morphed into a battle of bullpens.

A 6’7″ frame wasn’t quite enough for Aaron Judge in The Bronx Monday night
Credit: Bill Menzel

Atlanta prevailed, 5-3, on an 11th-inning Ronald Acuna, Jr. home run that tipped the glove of the leaping Aaron Judge before dropping into the right-field seats.

The Yankees allowed the game to drift into overtime by persisting failing to cash in against a Braves bullpen that had trouble throwing strikes. In fact, New York went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, failing to plate a run after the fifth, when the tying marker crossed on a pair of wild pitches.

Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez, who once pitched a no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers, battled the heat, the Bronx cheers, and a Yankee lineup loaded with enormous home run power.

Judge hit a pop-fly homer in the first but was otherwise a paper tiger, combining with fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton to strike out five times.

On the Atlanta side, the 20-year-old Acuna showed no fear playing in Yankee Stadium for the first time in his brief career. He poked two of the nine Atlanta hits and knocked in three of its five runs.

Monday’s Braves hero Ronald Acuna, Jr. isn’t old enough to vote

His game-winning homer was aided by a Gleyber Torres boot of a ground ball leading off the 11th. Earlier, the rookie second baseman had enjoyed his first three-hit game.

Johan Camargo’s third-inning line-drive homer against Yankee starter Jonathan Loaisiga ended a short-lived 1-0 lead by the home team. It was the eighth home run of the year by the switch-hitting third baseman, who is getting his first chance to play every day.

Acuna, who missed a month after injuring his knee in Boston on Memorial Day weekend, reclaimed his left field spot Friday night in St. Louis and helped the Braves sweep to a rare sweep of the Cardinals.

After their starter yielded three earned runs in four innings, the Yankees deployed five relievers. David Robertson finally yielded Acuna’s game-winning shot.

Atlanta got six innings from Sanchez, who yielded three runs, and scoreless relief from the combination of Sam Freeman, Dan Winkler, Jesse Biddle, and A.J. Minter. The Braves were aided by two double-plays.

Freddie Freeman has become the best first baseman in the NL

In holding Atlanta All-Stars Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies to no hits in nine at-bats, Yankee pitchers performed an unlikely feat. But it wasn’t enough.

Atlanta, which owns the best record in the National League, is now 3½ games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies in the Eastern Division, 7 up on Washington, and a whopping 15 ahead of the once-favored New York Mets.

As for New York, the Yankees fell out of first place in the American League East when the Boston Red Sox routed Washington ace Max Scherzer on his home turf. The Yanks went into the Monday game with the best record in the American League but lost that distinction, as well as their grip on first place, with the marathon loss to the youthful Braves.

Three Atlanta position players are front-runners for All-Star berths, to be announced next weekend. They are Freeman at first base, Albies at second, and Nick Markakis in the outfield. Markakis, 34, has played more games without an All-Star selection than any active player.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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