Here are five observations:
1. Five days after walking seven in five innings, Braves starter Charlie Morton was back at his best Wednesday. He pitched six scoreless innings, giving up four hits. He struck out 10 and only allowed one walk.
His curveball was particularly lethal. He consistently got the Yankees to chase curves out of the zone. Per Baseball Savant, less than 50% of his pitches were over the plate, yet 61 of 94 (64.9%) ended up as strikes.
Morton attributed his success to his release point. His timing felt better, which allowed him to be more aggressive with his breaking pitches. He forced 15 swings and misses.
Morton grew up a Yankees fan, with a Long Island dad who taught him the Yankee way. While these aren’t the same Yankees, beating them still means a little more to him.
“My dad … always talked about the Yankee greats and being a fan of the game and the history of the game and that romantic part of the game,” Morton said. “... There’s always going to be a little bit of that, playing against the Yankees.”
2. Morton said he didn’t compare starts, so he wouldn’t directly compare Wednesday to the seven-walk outing against the Mets.
However, he is willing to compare larger bodies of work. By his own admission, he hasn’t been at his best since the All-Star break.
Morton came out of the break with seven scoreless innings against the White Sox. In the five starts between then and Wednesday, he’d pitched 24-2/3 innings and given up 16 runs, an ERA of 5.84. He had more walks (22) than strikeouts (21).
Morton said he’d started to worry his mechanics were off, comparing getting down the mound to learning to drive a car.
“So you’re driving like a manual, and you’re just learning how to drive,” Morton said. “You’re thinking about every step that you’re making. You’re thinking about your turn signal, where your left foot is, right foot, thinking about where your eyes are and your hands are. It’s just not a good place to be. It’s kind of like that when you’re pitching if you’re thinking about your delivery too much.”
He wasn’t at that point, but he was getting there.
Wednesday’s start brought some confidence back. The Braves hope Morton is shifted into gear and ready to drive down the stretch.
3. Pierce Johnson, Kirby Yates and Raisel Iglesias combined for the game’s final three frames. Each continued remarkable streaks out of the ‘pen.
In his first 10 appearances since joining the Braves, Johnson has yet to allow an earned run. He held the Yankees hitless in the seventh, striking out one.
Yates has pitched nine consecutive scoreless outings dating back to July 28. In the eighth, like Johnson, he pitched a clean inning and added a strikeout.
Closer Iglesias followed the pair with a clean inning and a strikeout. He has held opponents scoreless in 17 of his last 18 appearances. The save was his 23rd of the season.
4. Yankees pitchers held the Braves in check. The team managed just three hits.
The biggest two came on consecutive pitches. Designated hitter Marcell Ozuna led off the second with a double to right-center field. Outfielder Eddie Rosario followed by crushing a first-pitch sinker, hitting it 422 feet into the left-center field bleachers. The Braves managed one more hit, an Austin Riley single in the sixth, but the homer proved all they needed.
“That’s pretty impressive too, going the other way like he did,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Rosario. " … We’ve all seen, when he gets on one of his rolls, it’s a fun thing to watch.”
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
5. Wednesday’s win meant the Braves won six of seven consecutive games against New York teams. Over the stretch, the Braves outscored the Mets and Yankees, 58-13.
The dominance hasn’t just come this season. While the Braves are 11-2 against New York this year, they’re also 15-3 against New York teams since this time last year.
The sweep added more misery for the Yankees — it dropped them to 60-61, the latest they’ve been under .500 since 1995. They managed five hits in the final two games.
The Braves won’t have to wait long to face New York again. The Braves face the Mets at Truist Park next week, playing August 21-23.
Stat to know
43 - Wednesday night’s game was the 43rd sellout of the season, a Truist Park record. The record of 42 was set last season, the year after winning the 2021 World Series.
“We’ve been using all of (the bullpen), they’ve all responded in different situations. I think that’s key to keeping them all upright and fresh. It’s been really good.” -- Snitker
The Braves are off Thursday. They start a three-game series with the Giants on Friday night. Spencer Strider (13-4, 3.75 ERA) will start for the Braves.