Rapid Reaction: Braves 4, Yankees 3

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
10:05
PM ET


What it means: That all good things must come to an end, even the 10-course banquet of National League East teams the Yankees feasted on over the past two weeks. The bats came up flat Tuesday night in a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves, especially in a devastating seventh inning that was much of their season -- at least the bad nights -- in a nutshell.

No Hiro tonight: Hiroki Kuroda allowed as many earned runs Tuesday night, four, as he had in the previous month. In the fourth and sixth innings, two-out walks cost him runs, as he surrendered RBI singles to the next batter both times. And some of the hits, notably Jason Heyward's double to the right-center gap and Brian McCann's double over Curtis Granderson's head in center were frighteningly hard.

Unlucky seventh: Once again, the Yankees were feeble with runners in scoring position (2-for-11), never worse than in the seventh inning, when they had runners at second and third, one out, and Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez coming to bat -- and failed to score. Teixeira hit the ball hard but right at Chipper Jones at third, who threw Granderson out at the plate, and Ibanez struck out on a slider from Jonny Venters to end the inning.

Welcome back: Nick Swisher celebrated his return to the lineup by lashing a two-run double in his first at-bat in the second inning. Swisher showed no ill effects from the deep thigh bruise he suffered in Saturday's game and easily legged it into second. Plus, he retook the team lead in RBIs with 42.

Grandy's got a gun: Granderson saved the Yankees a run in the fourth inning when he gunned Heyward out at third on what should have been a two-run single by Andrelton Simmons. Grandy's throw got Heyward a step before the 40-year-old Jones could cross the plate, holding the Braves to a 3-2 lead rather than 4-2.

Jason fires back: Braves RF Heyward returned the favor in the fifth, throwing out Teixeira at the plate on Swisher's single to right with runners on first and second, preserving a 3-all tie.

Kick save and a ... OW!!! Heyward ripped a shot at Teixeira so hard in the sixth inning that the ball shot under Tex's glove, caromed off his left ankle and went all the way to Robbie Cano at second. The painful infield hit drove in McCann to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

A Boone to the bullpen: Boone Logan pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to extend his scoreless appearances streak to 13, a span of 7 2/3 innings reaching back to May 22.

Hands of stone: The Braves committed two errors in the fourth inning, allowing the Yankees to tie the game at 3. With one out, Freddie Freeman got handcuffed by Ibanez's one-hopper to first, and two batters later, Russell Martin's hot grounder got past Jones at third, scoring Ibanez.

What's coming: The incomparable Johnette Howard is with me tonight and is writing a column on what might be on Brian Cashman's shopping list at the trade deadline. I'll get postgame clubhouse reaction on the end of the winning streak.

What's next: We close the show with the Braves with a Wednesday matinee, Phil Hughes (7-5, 4.50 ERA) versus RHP Tommy Hanson (7-4, 3.32), first pitch at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146