By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — While the Atlanta Braves focus on 100 wins, the New York Yankees’ new goal is shaking their losing record.
Charlie Morton recorded 10 strikeouts in six innings, Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer and the Braves beat New York 2-0 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep and dropping the struggling Yankees below .500 for the first time this season.
New York (60-61) was left with a five-game losing streak after being outscored 18-3 in the sweep, capped by back-to-back shutouts for the first time this season. The Braves (78-42) have thrown four shutouts in their last seven games to boost the majors’ best record.
“To be able to sweep the Yankees is another great accomplishment,” closer Raisel Iglesias said through a translator after his perfect ninth inning. “It’s another step to try to get to 100 wins as quickly as possible.”
It is the first time the last-place Yankees have had a losing record at least 120 games into a season since Sept. 5, 1995, when they also were 60-61, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It is their first losing record at any point since they were 13-14 in 2021.
The Yankees, who haven’t missed the playoffs since 2016, began the night 6 1/2 games back of the AL’s last wild card berth. New York has finished with a winning record in 30 consecutive seasons.
New York manager Aaron Boone said it’s not too late to salvage the season.
“The game is still littered with examples of teams going on unlikely runs,” Boone said.
“I get it looks bleak and I don’t want to even suggest that we’re in a position to even talk about a streak like that. We’ve got to fix our own house and get going. But there’s a lot of season left, too, and we’ve got to look at it that way.”
The Yankees, held to one hit in Tuesday’s night’s 5-0 loss, came into the game with a .232 batting average, ahead of only Oakland’s .222 mark in the majors. They were limited to four hits by Morton and relievers Pierce Johnson, Kirby Yates and Iglesias.
Aaron Judge, who had one hit and three strikeouts, acknowledged New York’s hitters may be pressing.
“I think it kind of weighs on some guys because guys try to go in there and do a little too much and get that big hit and try to hit a three-run homer with no one on base,” Judge said.
Judge said he retains faith the hitters “eventually will pull through.”
“We’ve seen spurts of it through the year but we’re still looking for that long, hot streak we really haven’t had all year,” Judge said. “No better time than now.”
Morton (12-10) allowed four hits with one walk as he struck out at least 10 batters for the 26th time in his career. His only previous double-digit strikeout game this season came with 10 in a 12-0 win at Texas on May 15.
“I think I just physically felt better tonight,” Morton said.
Rookie right-hander Randy Vásquez (2-2) allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings in his fourth career start for the Yankees.
Rosario’s homer to center field drove in Marcell Ozuna, who led off the second with a double off Vásquez.
STRIKEOUTS FOR MORTON
Judge hit a one-out single in the fourth and moved to third on Giancarlo Stanton’s walk. Morton struck out Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Billy McKinney to end the inning.
Morton struck out Judge, Stanton and Kiner-Falefa after Gleyber Torres singled to lead off the sixth.
The last time the Yankees were shut out in back-to-back games was Aug. 14-15, 2022, against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
The attendance was 40,743, the record 43rd sellout of the season at Truist Park. The previous record of sellouts for the park which opened in 2017 was 42 last season following Atlanta’s 2021 World Series championship.
Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (strained left hamstring) threw five innings in a simulated game at Tampa. “We’ll see how the recovery and everything goes these next several days,” Boone said. Rodón has been on the 15-day injured list since Aug. 8. Barring a setback, he could return to the rotation for next week’s series against Washington.
Braves: RHP Jesse Chavez (left shin contusion) threw on the field before batting practice but “still has a little trouble running,” according to manager Brian Snitker, who added “that’s a good first step.” Chavez has been out since June 15.
New York: Following a day off on Thursday, the Yankees will return home and have not announced their starter against AL East rival Boston on Friday night.
Atlanta: The Braves, also off Thursday, open a three-game series against San Francisco on Friday night, when RHP Spencer Strider (13-4, 3.75) is the scheduled starter.