McCann & Yanks continue to burn Atlanta

The Brian McCann lovefest in Atlanta continued Saturday night as the Yankees won again, although this time without the fireworks their offense showed Friday night in a 15-4 bashing of the Braves.

The winning score for the Yankees was a much more modest 3-1, but once again McCann and Didi Gregorius supplied some firepower to match the superlative pitching of Luis Severino (2-2), Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller (28th save).

McCann, returning to his hometown and Turner Field where he was an All-Star catcher for the Braves before signing as a free agent with the Yankees last year, got his fifth RBI of the series with a double to right-center in the eighth inning that scored Chris Young, pinch running for Carlos Beltran, who had led off with a walk.

You would have thought McCann was still playing for the Braves the way so many fans in the sellout crowd of 49,243 reacted to his hit. Yankees fans seemed to be in every part of the stands.

That proved an important insurance run for Betances, who worked out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings as the Braves threatened to even the score. Atlanta got on the board in the seventh when Justin Wilson an ill-advised throw to first base by Gregorius for an error on a fielder’s choice.

Betances entered with two out and a runner on first base and got off to a shaky start by walking Cameron Maybin on four pitches. That brought up the dangerous Freddie Freeman, who hit a hard grounder up the middle that Betances gloved with a behind-the-back swipe and threw to first to end the inning.

After McCann’s hit made the score 3-1 in the eighth, the Braves put two runners on with singles in the bottom half, but Betances struck out Andrelton Simmons looking at a fastball on the inside corner, to which the shortstop objected demonstratively but was not ejected.

Miller made quick work of the Braves in the ninth by retiring the side in order with two strikeouts.

In a pairing of rookies, Severino got the better of Atlanta’s Matt Wisler, who gave up a run in the first inning on a wild pitch but held the Yankees down until the seventh when back-to-back doubles by Chase Headley and Gregorius gave the Yankees their second run. Gregorius’ two-bagger was their only hit in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position and his ninth RBI in the past three games.

Severino, who seems to get better with every start, pitched six innings and allowed only four hits with five strikeouts. He had some control issues with three walks but held the Braves hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position as they stranded six runners in his time on the mound.

The righthander has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his five starts and lowered his season ERA to 2.17. He has become a fixture in the rotation and has displayed composure unexpected of a 21-year-old.

Not all of the news in Atlanta has been positive, however. Mark Teixeira still experiences pain attempting to run and remains on the bench for an indefinite period. He is doubtful for Sunday’s series finale at the Ted and hopeful to return in Boston, the next stop on the trip.

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