By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Bryce Elder pitched seven brilliant innings in a combined one-hitter, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna went deep and the Atlanta Braves cruised past the reeling New York Yankees 5-0 on Tuesday night.
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.
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. New York has finished with a winning record in 30 consecutive seasons.
Elder (9-4), a first-time All-Star, has slumped a bit after a dynamic start. The 24-year-old right-hander was 1-3 with a 7.94 ERA over his last six appearances, but he cruised through the Yankees lineup.
DJ LeMahieu singled to center in the second as the Yankees finished with a season-low one hit. He was erased on one of four double plays New York hit into. Three were against Elder, who faced just one hitter 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 of the season.
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 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.
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. Manager Brian Snitker isn’t sure exactly how long Albies will be out, but look for Atlanta — holding a commanding lead in the NL East — to be especially careful with its slugging middle infielder. … 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.