The New York Yankees were trying to accomplish something they hadn’t done since 1985, win eleven games in a row. The Atlanta Braves made sure the Yankees would have to wait longer to reach that mark.
Yankees’ starters had been spectacular during the stretch and while last night’s hurler Hiroki Kuroda was not terrible, he allowed just enough runs to the Braves that the Yankees offense could not match. Kuroda went seven innings allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out six batters. Kuroda’s undoing was a two-run fourth inning in which he threw 32 of his total 97 pitches.
The Yankees took an early 2-0 lead against Braves starter Tim Hudson in the second inning. Mark Teixeira singled to lead off the inning and Raul Ibanez doubled him to third. Nick Swisher delivered a double of his own to center driving in both runs.
Hudson was erratic for a better part of his five innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) in only five innings of work. Hudson allowed more walks (five) than hits (four). But the effort was good enough for the veteran righty whose ability to work out of trouble brought the Yankees season long inability to score with runners in scoring position to the forefront. The Yanks finished the night 2-for-13 in RISP situations.
The Yankees had two runners nailed at the plate which also didn’t help matters. In the fifth, Teixeira was out at home by a mile when Jason Heyward fired a bullet to Brian McCann after a Swisher single.
Heyward was a one-man wrecking crew in the game and seemed to have it out for Teixeira. He was 2-for-3 with a triple and a RBI, plus the play at home. His go-ahead RBI-single in the sixth was a rocket off the heel of Teixeira which rolled all the way behind second base.
The Yankees only threatened one more time after Hudson left. Facing Jonny Venters in the seventh, Curtis Granderson singled, Alex Rodriguez walked and each player moved up a base on a fielder’s choice by Robinson Cano. Granderson was nabbed at the plate on a fielder’s choice converted by Chipper Jones to McCann. Ibanez struck out to end the inning.
Boone Logan and David Robertson kept the Yankees within a run with scoreless eighth and ninth innings. But, the Braves bullpen was just as good and Craig Kimbrel shut down the top of the order 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the victory for the Braves. It was Kimbrel’s 20th save on the season.
The Yankees (41-26) remained 2.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The Braves (36-32) picked up a game on the Washington Nationals and find themselves 3.5 games behind the NL East leaders.
In today’s 1:05 PM matinee, Phil Hughes looks to start another Yankees streak and maintain one of his own. Hughes (7-5, 4.50 ERA) has won his last three starts with a paltry 1.69 ERA. The Braves counter with Tommy Hanson (7-4, 3.32 ERA) who has also pitched well in his last three outings, allowing only four earned runs in 20.1 innings.