- Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Jonny Gomes charged off the mound in the ninth inning with his arm raised, as if he had just closed out a win.

Far from it.

Instead, the outfielder’s first career appearance as a pitcher was a desperation move at the end of a long night for the Braves’ battered staff.

Williams Perez gave up eight runs while recording only five outs and former Atlanta star Brian McCann hit a three-run homer as the New York Yankees crushed the Braves 15-4 on Friday night.

Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer in the first and drove in a career-high six runs for the Yankees.

Gomes gave up two runs in the ninth, including a homer to Chris Young leading off the inning. Gomes raised his arm in celebration and raced to the dugout after striking out pitcher Bryan Mitchell to end the inning.

After Perez was pulled in the second inning, Gomes said he told manager Fredi Gonzalez he would be available to pitch an inning to take some of the load off the bullpen.

“Our bullpen’s been grinding,” Gomes said. “I figured if I could take one inning of the load, I told him I could do it and let our guys sit back and laugh at me.”

Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with two hits, including a third-inning homer.

Perez (4-5) gave up five hits and three walks. It is the fifth time in his last six starts he has allowed four or more runs. Perez and Ross Detwiler combined to issue six walks in the first two innings.

Gonzalez said he’ll stick with Perez for his next scheduled start.

“Keep running him out there,” Gonzalez said. “I know it’s not easy but I think in the long run we’ll be better off for it.”

McCann, who played his first nine seasons with the Braves, received a warm ovation before his first at-bat in his return to Atlanta. He tipped his helmet to the fans. He had three walks and drove in four runs.

McCann said he was glad to make his return before the Braves move to a new stadium in 2017.

“This place, it means a lot to me,” McCann said of Turner Field. “I’m glad I get to come back and play.”

Masahiro Tanaka (10-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.

The Yankees led 9-2 after two innings despite having their first two batters retired in each inning.

Following Chase Headley’s two-run, ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in center field, Gregorius hit a three-run homer into the seats in right for a 5-0 lead in the first.

COME SEE THE YANKEES

Attendance was 35,546, including a strong turnout by Yankees fans. Many sat behind the visitor’s dugout on the third-base line. That topped the three-game total of 29,621 for the Braves’ series against Colorado this week.

BIG CATCH

Freeman had a run-scoring single in Atlanta’s two-run first inning that would have been bigger if not for Jacoby Ellsbury’s inning-ending catch in deep center field. Running with his back to the infield, Ellsbury reached up to catch Christian Bethancourt’s two-out drive with two runners on base before sliding on the warning track.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira (bruised right shin) did not start as had been expected as he was still unable to run. Girardi said after the game the medical staff decided against more tests. “He’s just got to heal,” Girardi said.

Braves: INF Hector Olivera could be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, when rosters can be expanded. The Braves felt Olivera, from Cuba, needed to reach playing form following his July 30 trade from the Dodgers because a hamstring injury has limited his at-bats this season.

UP NEXT

Yankees: Rookie RHP Luis Severino will make his fifth career start one week after earning his first win against Cleveland. He has lasted at least five innings and allowed no more than three runs in each of his first four starts.

Braves: Rookie RHP Matt Wisler will try to end a streak of three straight losing decisions. He allowed seven runs in two of those three losses - at Philadelphia on Aug. 1, and at the Cubs on Sunday.

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