NEW YORK – In the first round, the Braves’ bats won. In the second round, the Yankees’ lineup sent a loud response.

The Braves lost to the Yankees, 8-3, to snap a four-game winning streak on Saturday. The teams will play for the series on Sunday.

Five observations:

1. Marcell Ozuna blasted a ball off of Marcus Stroman and watched it fly. He knew he got it all.

It gave the Braves an early lead. And at that moment, it seemed the Braves might stay hot.

But the Braves couldn’t crack Stroman. They had only two hits before Travis d’Arnaud’s seventh-inning homer that ended Stroman’s night. Stroman won this battle.

“He did a great job keeping us off balance and didn’t make any mistakes, and he did a tremendous job,” d’Arnaud said.

Before the loss, the Braves had won seven of their last eight games. In two of them, they scored only two runs.

With the Yankees’ potent lineup, the Braves likely cannot count on three runs winning a game.

2. This season, Charlie Morton has not fared well in the first inning. The Yankees, on the other hand, entered the game leading all of baseball in first-inning runs.

Just like Chris Sale on Friday, Morton stepped on the rubber with a lead. Unlike Sale, though, Morton couldn’t preserve it.

Aaron Judge powered out a 366-foot, two-run home run to right-center field. This ball wouldn’t have left the yard at 21 of 30 ballparks. But these teams are playing in one of the nine where it’s a homer.

Morton walked Juan Soto before the homer. And Judge hit a four-seam fastball away.

“I look back at that and I’m just like, ‘Man, 3-1 count, short porch to right,’” Morton said. “He hit it and he knew he had gotten enough of it to hit it out.”

Morton found himself in a tough spot: He pitched around Soto, who has always seen him well. He didn’t want to walk Judge.

On the other hand, perhaps he could’ve made a different pitch. He knew he was only second-guessing himself, but he still wondered.

“I think in the past, I’ve done a decent job of handling the game at the bottom of the zone with my two-seam and breaking balls,” Morton said. “He’s had a hard time seeing my breaking ball. I don’t know if he’s ever gotten a hit off of it. It’s just like, 3-1, maybe early (in the game), trying to be too fine. I really don’t know. Because he’s still one of the best hitters in the game. If I just throw a get-me-over breaking ball right there, who knows, maybe he hits it further. Maybe he hits it out of the stadium, I don’t know.”

Morton is correct: Judge has never gotten a hit off of his curveball. Hindsight is, of course, 20-20.

In the third, a run scored on a double play. In the fifth, Morton allowed a run-scoring double. He departed with two outs in the sixth, but Aaron Bummer couldn’t escape unscathed.

Morton was charged with five runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He issued five walks.

“I don’t know how to assess that (start) because the outcome is not what I wanted and how I got there, probably, in a lot of ways was really disappointing,” Morton said. “A lot of walks. I don’t know. I mean, looking back, I just didn’t do my job. Yeah, it’s a tough lineup, no doubt about it. There’s just a couple pitches I wish I would’ve had back. Thinking, ‘Yeah, it wasn’t good,’ but just to think that I was maybe a couple pitches away from getting through it with it being half decent.”

3. The Braves’ offense recently woke up, and now it once again feels like they can win even if they fall behind by a few runs.

“Yeah, definitely,” d’Arnaud said. “Now we feel two, three runs isn’t a big deal – even four runs isn’t a big deal – because we know our offense can explode in the blink of an eye. Today, it just didn’t happen.”

When Bummer entered, the Braves trailed by three runs. It soon got out of hand.

It went like this: Walk, two-run single, double, walk, bases-loaded walk.

The score: 7-1, Yankees.

“These nights happen for everyone,” d’Arnaud said. “Just didn’t have his control or his command today, and they were able to capitalize on it. You gotta tip the hat to them – they did a great job of getting on base and not chasing and taking their walks and not trying to do too much. Yeah, just one of those days for (Bummer).”

4. When asked about Morton, Braves manager Brian Snitker began with a big-picture point.

“We walked too many guys,” he said. “It’s hard to walk eight guys in this ballpark. We’re lucky to have stayed in it like we did.”

Yankee Stadium, a bandbox, is a notorious hitters’ park. And the Braves walked eight – yes, eight – batters (five for Morton, three for Bummer).

The Braves tied a season high in walks. They also issued eight free passes in a loss to the Nationals this month.

5. Even in a loss, the Braves continued an encouraging trend.

Including Saturday, they have scored 14 runs in the first inning in their last nine games. They only had 27 first-inning runs through 65 contests before this stretch.

“Oh, it’s a huge boost for us,” d’Arnaud said of the early scoring. “I’m sure for the other team, it makes your shoulders feel close to your ears when that happens, and for us, we get to exhale a little bit and keep the momentum going. That’s big and it’s really beneficial for us.”

Ozuna launched a two-out solo homer off Stroman to give the Braves another early lead. The Braves’ offense was mostly quiet after that.

Still, Atlanta’s first-inning scoring is another reason to be encouraged about this offense going forward.

“I like how our offense is starting to get untracked here,” Snitker said. “We’re starting to get a little momentum and I think we’ll continue to build on that.”

Stat to know

7.71 - Morton has a 7.71 ERA in the first inning this season. He’s allowed 12 earned runs over 14 innings.


“I like where everybody’s at. The biggest thing is we gotta pitch. I said last year: We hit all them homers, but if we don’t pitch – you still gotta pitch. That’s the key to this whole thing always, and it always will be, is your pitching.” - Snitker on the Braves’ recent power

Up next

Max Fried will start for Atlanta in Sunday’s series finale, which begins at 1:35 p.m. Left-hander Nestor Cortes will pitch for the Yankees.