Coming into Monday night, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were tied at the top of the AL East with the best records in Major League Baseball. As has occurred all season long, they would be facing off and directly influencing the NL East as July 4th closes in. The Yankees played host to the Atlanta Braves, a team that many are still unsure of due to their lack of experience and their youth, while the Nationals welcomed the Red Sox to Washington.
The game in New York was a classic. The Yankees came up against a Braves team that are the best team, record-wise, in the entire National League. If anyone thought it would be easy to swipe them aside, they were sorely mistaken. The Yanks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, with Atlanta evening it up in the third only to give up another one to make it 2-1. They came back with two of their own in the fourth inning to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. The Bronx Bombers responded in the fifth with a run, and that would end the scoring for a while yet.
From there, it became a war of attrition and a pitcher’s duel. The Yankees would continually put runners in scoring position, but the Braves did not fold after bending considerably. This allowed them to take it to extra innings at 3-3. They would continue to give the home team a chance, but the Yankees did not walk through the door. The Bravos did get some luck when a ball bounced over for a ground rule double that could have won it for their hosts. But they didn’t waste that luck. In the 11th, Ronald Acuna, Jr would add to his star power with a two run home run that would eventually win them the game. It gave him a third RBI of the game, which came on the anniversary of signing with the Braves four years ago.
Elsewhere, the two races continued to intertwine as the Red Sox just held off a late rally by the Nationals to win 4-3. As a result, the tanking Nationals have fallen even further off the pace of the Braves, and the Red Sox have now taken a one game lead over the Yankees for the time being in the AL East. On a night of a lot of close games, these two could prove crucial in division races later on in the summer.