ATLANTA (AP) Bryce Elder and Marcell Ozuna never lost faith in themselves.

It's sure paying off.

Bouncing back from a rough stretch, Elder pitched seven innings to lead a one-hitter, getting all the run support he needed when Ozuna hit a three-run homer in the first to lead the Atlanta Braves past the reeling New York Yankees 5-0.

Ronald Acuña Jr. also went deep for the Braves, who have outscored the Yankees 16-3 over the first two games of the series.

“I'm not going to sit up here and say I was always confident,” said Elder, a first-time All-Star this season but just 1-3 with a 7.94 ERA over his previous six starts. “You just have to say, ‘Forget it. I’m just going to go back to trying to make one pitch at a time.' Whatever the result is, I can live with it.”

He certainly had no complaints after this one.

DJ LeMahieu singled to center in the second for the lone New York hit, a season low for the Yankees. He was erased on one of four double plays his team hit into - three of them against Elder, who faced just one batter above the minimum.

Elder walked three and struck out three while throwing 94 pitches. A.J. Minter and Kirby Yates finished with a hitless inning apiece for the Braves’ 12th shutout this season.

After an 11-3 romp in the series opener, the Braves wasted no time jumping on Luis Severino (2-8), whose dismal season has been marred by atrocious numbers in the first inning.

That trend didn't change against the Braves. With two outs, Ozuna launched his 24th homer of the season over the center-field wall for a three-run shot. The homer extended Ozuna's hitting streak to 13 games and gave the Braves a major league-best 120 first-inning runs.

At the end of April, Ozuna was hitting .085 with a pair of solo homers accounting for his only RBIs, prompting plenty of fans to call for his release. The Braves stuck with the burly DH, who's batted .275 with 22 homers and 58 RBIs since.

“I knew I was a good player,” Ozuna said. “I just never give up. The only thing I have in my mind is to show them what I can do.”

The last-place Yankees dropped to 12-22 since July 4, falling to .500 for the first time since they were 15-15.

If the Braves complete the sweep on Wednesday, New York (60-60) would drop under .500 at least 120 games into a season for the first time since the Yankees were 60-61 on Sept. 5, 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“We’re not showing up, that’s what it comes down to,” Aaron Judge said.

New York has finished with a winning record in 30 consecutive seasons.

“We need to take some personal pride,” manager Aaron Boone said.

A two-time All Star, Severino has been tagged for 23 earned runs in the opening frame of his 14 starts - an ERA of 14.79.

Acuña finished off Severino in the fourth with his 26th homer, a two-run drive - also with two outs - to nearly the same spot as Ozuna's.

Both of those runs were unearned after the inning started with third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa waving at a soft grounder, allowing Sean Murphy to reach.

“I was feeling really good today. I thought I was in command of all my pitches. Just a couple of mistakes,” Severino said. “The one to Acuña, I’m not even mad about. He’s just a great hitter.”


After a run of tough outings, the Atlanta rotation has suddenly found its groove in the past few days.

The Braves have three shutouts in their past their past six games, with the starters going 5-1 in that stretch.

Charlie Morton, spot starter Allan Winans, Spencer Strider, Max Fried and now Elder have all picked up wins, surrendering just two earned runs in 32 innings combined. Yonny Chirinos was the only one who struggled in a 7-6 loss to the Mets.

“The guys feed off each other,” Snitker said. “There's something to that.”


The Yankees have captured only a single series since July 1 - a three-game sweep of the lowly Kansas City Royals on July 21-23.

Otherwise, they have lost nine series and split three others.


Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (strained left hamstring) will throw a simulated game at Tampa on Wednesday and, if all goes well, could rejoin New York for next week's series against Washington at Yankee Stadium. Rodón is 1-4 with a 7.33 ERA in six starts this season.

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies (strained right hamstring) was officially placed on the 10-day injured list, backdated to Monday, and IF Vaughn Grissom was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... C Sean Murphy was plunked in the left shoulder blade by Severino in the first inning but stayed in the game.


The Braves will send RHP Charlie Morton (11-10, 3.71) to the mound for the series finale. The Yankees could go with a bullpen game.



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