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Yankees 8, Braves 5: Despite pitching struggles, Yankees hang on for win

A 6-0 lead nearly evaporated, but a win is a win.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first four innings, things looks pretty good for the Yankees. Domingo German was doing fairly well, and the offense had scored at least one run in each inning. Then things got a little tricky.

German fell apart, and with most of its key pieces unavailable after the two previous games, the bullpen was having a hard time getting outs as well. After leading 6-0 at one point, the Yankees only led 6-5 after seven innings. Thanks to some bullpen help from an unlikely source, and a couple insurance runs, the Yankees eventually managed to get over the line with a 8-5 win.

The game’s first runs came in the bottom of the first. After the opening two hitters went down in order, Giancarlo Stanton kept the inning alive with a single. Aaron Hicks then continued his recent hot run, homering to right to put the Yankees in front.

The following inning, Kyle Higashioka added another hit and another home run to his tally. His solo shot extended the Yankees’ lead and took him one step closer to being a living Matt Christopher book.

In the third, Braves’ starter Sean Newcomb issued four walks, plating a run, and forcing Atlanta to make a pitching change. The Braves went to Luke Jackson, but that didn’t actually change much as he walked Higashioka to score another run. Neil Walker very nearly added more when he ripped a ball down the first base line. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it was just hit straight at Freddie Freeman, who caught it to end the inning.

The Yankees scored in a fourth consecutive inning in the fourth. Gardner doubled to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a Judge single. After the Braves answered back with two outs, a wild pitch allowed Gardner to score.

German had cruised through the first four innings, but he ran into some major trouble in the fifth. He walked Johan Camargo, but got the first out of the inning by striking out Dansby Swanson. However, Ender Inciarte then got the Braves on the board with a two-run home run. That was immediately followed by an Ozzie Albies home run in the next at bat, cutting the Yankees’ lead to two runs.

German then allowed two more singles before finally getting the hook. He lasted 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. As seems to be the case a lot with him, it was really down to one bad inning more than sustained struggling. A.J. Cole came in and allowed another single to load the bases, but got out of the inning with the Yankees still in front.

Cole threw a scoreless sixth, with Adam Warren then getting the seventh. That’s when things got even scarier. To start, he allowed a lead off single to Albies. Freeman was then robbed of a hit by Didi Gregorius. Nick Markakis came to the plate next, and he took Warren keep for another home run, cutting the Yankees’ lead to just one run. The next two Braves’ hitters also made extremely loud outs, but the Yankees did end the inning still in front.

Warren came back out for the eighth, and got an out, but also allowed two runners to reach. That brought Aaron Boone out of the dugout, and his only option at that point was to go to Chasen Shreve. Somehow, Shreve managed to get out of the inning without breaking anything.

After trying and failing several times, the Yankees finally got some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Gardner drew a one-out walk, and two batters later, Stanton homered down the line in right. That gave the Yankees some breathing room going into the ninth.

Aroldis Chapman came in for the save opportunity, and got through the Yankees’ first drama-free inning in quite a while. It wasn’t a pretty Yankees’ win, but it’s a Yankees’ win all the same.

Box score.