The Atlanta Braves welcomed the New York Yankees to CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida, where the skies were mostly sunny, and the game-time temperature was 58 degrees. Mike Soroka started in his first start of the season for the Braves, and Deivi Garcia, who is either No.1 or No.2 on all Yankee prospects lists, pitched the first start of spring training. Today’s game started with DJ LeMahieu leading off for the Yankees. LeMahieu started with a single to right as the first baseman couldn’t handle the ball that bounced off his arm But he was saved by Mike Tauchman getting a double play when he grounded out. Gleyber Torres followed striking out and ending the inning for the Yankees.
At the bottom of the first Deivi Garcia took the mound to face Ronald Alcuna Jr., Deivi Garcia got the 466th strikeout of his young career. Ozzie Albies flew out, but then Gleyber Torres bobbled a ball hit by Markakis, recovered, and sent a wild one past the first baseman. Marcell Ozuna struck out to get Garcia out of the inning. In the second, Soroka faced 3rd baseman Gio Urshela, who struck out. Miguel Andujar had a long single to center. Higashioka singled advancing Andujar into scoring position, Gittens and DH Thole struck out. In the Braves half, d’Arnaud struck out, Inciarte walked, Johan Camargo homered to right off Garcia for the 2-0 Braves lead. Alonso flew out to Tauchman. Kozma grounded out courtesy of a dazzling play by DJ LeMahieu. Garcia gave up two runs in the half.
Josh Tomlin, in the third, struck out Amburgey. DJ went down looking, Tauchman flew out to center as the Yankees remained scoreless. At the bottom, Nick Nelson replaced Garcia and got Kozma on a ground out to Torres. Acuna Jr flew out to Andujar in left, and Markakis singled over DJ’s head. Higgy made a pickoff to end the inning. In the top of the fouth Torres ground out, Urshela also ground out, Andujar walked but, Higgy grounded out right back to Tomlin for the half. The bottom of the fourth Nelson faced Ozuna, who flew out to Andujar, d’Arnaud lined out, Incairte stuck out to end the inning.
Tomlin in for the fifth stuck out Gittens, Thole singled off the right-field wall, which should have been a double, but the ball bounced back to the right fielder. Amburgey blooped one down to third for the out. DJ LeMahieu hit an inning-ending fly out to the right. At the bottom, Nelson was replaced by Tyler Lyons, who faced Camargo, who hit a line drive just off third, and Gio Urshela made a stellar play throwing a strike to first for the out. Alonso struck out, Kozma followed with a lineout. Lyons put the Braves down, one, two, three. At the top of the third, Will Smith came out to pitch for the Braves. Mike Tauchman walked, Torres hit to left for a single and moving Tauchman to third. Holder pinch-running for Torres. Holder stole second and scored Tauchman Holder at third. Andujar struck out, and Higgy flew out to center, ending the top of the sixth, but the Yankees picked up a run. Atlanta 2 New York 1.
Acuna Jr. struck out against Avilan, the new Yankee pitcher. Albies got fanned, Drew Waters fanned as Avilan struck out the side. At the top of the seventh Smith faced Gittens, he singled, Burt in to pinch run. Shane Greene replaced Smith. Thole singled, and Estevan Florial homed to center for the Yankees first lead of the day; Yankees 3 Braves 2. Zehner followed with a single. Ruta got fanned. Zehner got to second on a wild pitch to Holder. Holder struck out to end the half, but the Yankees picked up two runs for the lead. Brooks Kriske handled the pitching for the Yankees and got an out, back to him. Langelier flew out to Holder. Robinson threw out for the second one, two, three inning for Yankee pitching.
The top of the eighth, with most of the starting Yankees out of the game, Oswaldo Cabrera grounded out. Hoy Jun Park doubled. Wynston Sawyer doubled, and Park scored for the Yankees 4-2 lead. Max Burt flew out to the shortstop for the second out. Kellin Deglan singled driving in Park for the Yankees 5-2 lead. Florial stuck out to end the two-run inning for the Yankees. The bottom of the eighth Alexander Vizcaino faced the Braves. The first fastball was 97mph. Kazmar, Jr. struck out. Jenista was fanned. CJ Alexander out as the Yankees put down the Braves one, two, three for the fifth straight inning.
Zehner went down against Sobotka at the top of the ninth. Ruta struck out; Kyle Holder ground out for the Yankee exit in the ninth. In for the save for the Yankees was Albert Abreu. Trey Harris homered as the Braves picked up a run. Solarte ground out. Waters stuck out on a 99mph Abreu fastball. Salazar ground out to end any threat from the Braves. Abreu saved the Yankees 5-3 win.
Luis Avilan got the win for the Yankees, and Shane Greene took the loss for the Braves. After Deivi Garcia gave up two runs in the second, the Yankee’s relief pitching was stellar. Nelson, Avilan, Vizcaino, Abreu in the save gave up a home run. All three Braves runs were home runs. The Braves didn’t get a hit after the third inning until Harris homered in the ninth. At one point, the Yankee pitching got five straight one, two, three innings. The win today was the fourth consecutive win for the Yankees.
Tomorrow’s action will be wild with split squads playing two games on a Saturday afternoon. Both games start at 1:05 pm. Gerrit Cole, in his second start of spring training will face the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field while the second Yankee squad will play at Jet Blue Park facing the Boston Red Sox for the first time in spring training.