The Braves put four runs on the scoreboard tonight, but they may be coming away from this one feeling as if they deserved another run on top of that. The Yankees scored five and that disputed run ended up being the difference in a 5-4 defeat for Atlanta.
It felt like things were going to be different tonight, as the Braves wasted no time in jumping on Andrew Heaney and the Yankees. Freddie Freeman extended the first inning with a two-out walk, and then Heaney made a mistake and hit Austin Riley to keep the inning going. That opened the door for Dansby Swanson to continue what’s been a magnificent second-half of the season for him, as he laced a double into the gap in left-center to plate both Freeman and Riley and put the Braves on the board first.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Atlanta tonight, as the Yankees slowly-but-surely forged their way into the lead during the middle innings of this one. Giancarlo Stanton continued to remind all the Braves fans in the ballpark why it was unequivocally good that the Marlins traded him out of the NL East and into the AL East. Stanton hit a long homer to put the Yankees on the board in the first inning, and then New York tied the game up in the fourth inning. This time, the two massive human beings doing work for the Yankees were Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez — Judge’s leadoff double was cashed in by Sanchez after he poked a single into the outfield with two outs.
The fifth inning ended up being one of massive frustration for the Braves — both in the top and bottom of the inning. It already started on a sour note after Joc Pederson got himself ejected while arguing what was quite honestly a very dodgy strike three call — a call that Pederson thought should’ve been a hit-by-pitch.
Joc Pederson was called out on strikes on this pitch and subsequently ejected for arguing the call pic.twitter.com/9mHWTiO8uu— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) August 25, 2021
So you can imagine that things went from being ‘annoying’ to ‘downright frustrating’ when DJ LeMahieu capitalized on a leadoff single from Andrew Velazquez by crushing the first pitch he saw from Charlie Morton in that at-bat. LeMahieu sent it flying over the fence in left field and just like that, the Yankees were in the lead for the first time tonight.
The Braves had an opportunity to tie the game up in the bottom half, though. Ozzie Albies and Jorge Soler both reached base in consecutive one-out ABs and eventually, the baserunners turned into Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies after a forceout. Austin Riley came through an opportunity to do some damage, and Riley succeeded after lacing one into the outfield. Albies scored easily and Freddie wheeled himself from first to home and slid into home in what appeared to be a very close play at the plate. He looked safe at first glance, but the umpire called him out. The play went to review and in a moment that would’ve made Alec Bohm blush, Freeman was called out on review as the call stood. Needless to say, everybody rooting for the Braves at the stadium was livid but the game continued on with the score being 4-3 Yankees instead of being tied at four runs apiece.
By the time the seventh inning had rolled around, the Braves bullpen was working on their second inning of relief after Charlie Morton left in favor of Richard Rodriguez to start the sixth inning. Rougned Odor gave Morton a very rude welcome to the game, though. Odor slugged his 15th home run of the season to make it 5-3. Meanwhile in the bottom half of the inning, Ozzie Albies struck out on a pitch that was probably a strike if it was Aaron Judge at the plate instead of Ozzie Albies. That put the cap on what had been a pretty long night at the ballpark for the Braves when it came to their relationship with the umps tonight.
It stayed 5-3 going into the ninth, which is when things got really interesting. Aroldis Chapman came on for the second night in a row and he was clearly showing signs of fatigue for what ended up being a very long 26 pitches for him. Adam Duvall reached base with a one-out single, and then Ehire Adrianza eventually reached base on a two-out walk.
What followed were three at-bats that really felt like October in August. After an intense seven-pitch battle, Ozzie Albies legged out an infield single to load the bases. Clearly sensing that Chapman was in dire straits, Jorge Soler took a very patient approach to his plate appearance and drove in a run via walk to make it 5-4. In a just world, this would’ve tied the game and this contest probably would’ve still been going on.
However, the world we live in is a very cruel world that rarely ever makes sense, so it was on Freddie Freeman to get revenge of his own. By then, the Yankees had turned to Wandy Peralta to get what had turned out to be an elusive 27th out. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Freddie finally put a ball into play and unfortunately, it was only far enough to harmlessly land in the glove of an exasperated Joey Gallo to end the game.
For the Yankees, they have to be feeling relieved that their lengthy winning streak got to go on for another day. For the Braves, they’re probably going to be thinking about that run that should’ve been ruled a run instead of being ruled an out. There’s no telling what would’ve happened in extra innings (and to be honest, it probably would’ve been bad knowing the Braves’ luck in extras this season), but the Braves at least deserved the chance to figure out.
Instead, they’re going into a two-day break after losing two games in a row for the first time in a while. The intensity will likely continue once the Braves are back in action on Friday since the NL West-leading Giants are coming to town. Folks, it’s getting very, very interesting around here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.