Judge shifts momentum, Cabrera puts dagger as Yankees blast Braves behind Stroman

Oswaldo Cabrera celebrates after delivering a pivotal two-out, two-run single to right-center field vs. the Braves at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 2024.
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The New York Yankees turned the tide on Saturday night with an 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves, breaking free from a rough patch that saw them lose five of their last six games, including two straight to the Baltimore Orioles and Braves.

The Yankees showcased their signature strengths: reliable starting pitching and powerful hitting. Marcus Stroman pitched into the seventh inning, delivering a solid performance, while Aaron Judge continued his impressive season, smashing his Major League-leading 28th home run.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone underscored the significance of this win, calling it an essential bounce-back after a challenging week. He, reflecting on the team’s strong start to the season, noted that setbacks can help maintain a competitive edge.

“It was really good. Just a lot of good at-bats,” he said. “The top of the order was really good. Obviously one on base a ton, Aaron getting us off a good note with the two-run homer to answer their one run. Grish getting in the big act before he went out.”

Yankees make a strong comeback

The game kicked off with Atlanta taking an early lead thanks to Marcell Ozuna’s solo home run to right-center field. The Yankees quickly answered in the bottom of the first inning when Juan Soto walked, and Judge followed with a two-run homer to right-center, putting New York ahead 2-1.

Boone emphasized the impact of Judge’s immediate response, describing it as a significant blow. “To answer right back with Aaron going deep and grabbing the lead was a big blow,’’ he said.

Stroman agreed, noting the home run as a critical momentum shift for the Yankees.

“Judge has been on another historic run; [Juan] Soto has been on a historic run,” the pitcher said. “I’m just very thankful. It’s a momentum shift; gives me a boost and kicks me into gear to let me know I need to be doing a little bit more, because they’re doing their part.”

This victory highlighted the Yankees‘ resilience and their ability to overcome recent struggles, signaling a potential return to their dominant early-season form.

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The New York Yankees widened their lead over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, tacking on runs in the third and fourth innings. However, the fourth-inning run came at a cost as designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton exited the game due to left hamstring tightness while scoring from second base.

Cabrera puts the Yankees’ dagger

The Yankees extended their lead in the sixth inning when Oswaldo Cabrera delivered a pivotal two-out, two-run single to right-center field. The hit, which manager Aaron Boone described as a “dagger,” allowed Austin Wells to score from first base, boosting the lead to 6-1.

“I thought Cabrera’s at-bat was the dagger,” Boone said. “A lot of good at-bats from everyone. A good, bounce-back victory.”

Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman settled in after giving up an early home run to Marcell Ozuna. The right-hander retired 10 consecutive batters before being lifted from the game after Travis d’Arnaud homered with two outs in the seventh inning.

Stroman’s masterful performance kept the Braves’ bats in check, preserving the Yankees’ advantage. Atlanta’s offense fell silent after the second inning, failing to record a hit until Travis d’Arnaud’s two-run homer with two outs in the seventh. This late blast, however, barely dented Stroman’s stellar outing. The right-hander exhibited pinpoint control, scattering just three hits and two walks across 6 2/3 innings. His dominant showing bolstered his season record to an impressive 7-3, while trimming his ERA to a sharp 3.15 over 16 starts. Stroman’s ability to neutralize the potent Braves lineup proved crucial in the Yankees’ commanding victory.

“I felt pretty in control from the start,” the Yankees pitcher said. “Even after the homer, I felt pretty settled. I knew I didn’t make the pitch I wanted to, so I wasn’t necessarily mad about it. I felt pretty settled all night; I felt calm. I had a lot of confidence in [Austin] Wells behind the dish. I didn’t shake him one time all night.”

Yankees starter Marcus Stroman is in action against the Braves at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 2024.
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Stroman’s deep outing was critical for the Yankees, especially following short starts by Luis Gil and Carlos Rodon in recent games, as well as Gerrit Cole’s brief season debut on Wednesday.

Judge, who hit his Major League-leading 28th home run earlier in the game, highlighted the importance of Stroman’s performance. Judge noted it was crucial given the team’s recent struggles with both offense and starting pitching.

“That was huge, especially after the last couple games were pretty rough with the offense and starting pitching not coming through,’’ the Yankees captain said. “This was just one game, but that’s what you’ve got to do any time you have a couple tough [games]. We understand it’s a long season, but every game matters.”

Despite it being early in the season, the Yankees have navigated a challenging stretch against tough opponents.

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