Curtis Granderson extended that anguish with a two-run sixth-inning homer off Tim Hudson that proved decisive as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday night.
Four days after notching a season-best sixth consecutive win, the Braves are mired in a four-game losing streak that has included more crushing losses than the eight-game losing streak that they snapped on May 29.
The Braves blew a four-run fifth-inning lead against the Blue Jays on Sunday and squandered the 4-0 lead they owned when they were just five outs away from beating the Yankees on Tuesday night. With these demoralizing defeats fresh in their memories, they found their offense unable to overcome the few costly mistakes Hudson made.
When the Braves put runners at the corners with one out in the eighth and appeared to be in position to get back on the right side of a comeback victory, Cody Eppley got Martin Prado to ground into an inning-ending double play. Atlanta has batted .189 (7-for-37) with runners in scoring position during its four-game losing streak. The club’s two hits with runners in scoring position during this series finale came courtesy of Michael Bourn’s infield single in the eighth inning and the puzzling bunt single rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons delivered to load the bases with one out in the second. With Tim Hudson batting behind him, Simmons seemed to be in a position where he needed to attempt to plate at least one of the two baserunners.
The Braves entered the sixth inning still buzzing from the excitement McCann had created with his go-ahead two-run home run off Hiroki Kuroda in the fifth. Five pitches into the top of the sixth, though, Hudson had surrendered a leadoff single to Derek Jeter and the crushing homer that Granderson drilled over the right-field wall.
Coming off last week’s shutout of the Marlins, which he completed while dealing with a sore left ankle, Hudson recorded eight strikeouts and scattered six hits over six innings. After Jeter and Alex Rodriguez teamed up to give the Yankees a run in the first inning, the veteran right-hander limited New York to just two hits over the next four innings.
But after Jeter opened the sixth with a single, Granderson followed by hitting a 1-1 fastball well out of the reach of Jason Heyward, who made a futile attempt to preserve his team’s lead by scaling the right-field wall. The home run was just the second Hudson has allowed this season.
McCann’s fifth-inning home run accounted for the only damage incurred by Kuroda, who managed to allow just two runs while surrendering nine hits over six innings. The Braves put seven runners on base against Kuroda through the first four innings, even coming up empty after loading the bases with one out in the second.
Heyward did not score despite producing doubles in the fourth and fifth innings. Then, after Boone Logan issued consecutive walks with one out in the seventh, Heyward quieted the threat with a weak comebacker to the mound.