Yankees drop third series in a row as Atlanta’s Max Fried outduels Nestor Cortes

NEW YORK — On a scorching Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, the New York Yankees’ offense went cold against Atlanta ace Max Fried.

And while starter Nestor Cortes remained hot at home, it wasn’t enough for the Yankees to avoid a 3-1 defeat or a third consecutive series loss.

With a heat advisory in effect and temperatures in the mid-90s, Fried used his mid-90s fastball and a variety of breaking pitches to navigate the Yankees’ banged-up batting order. The lanky lefty limited the Yankees to one run over six innings and improved to 3-0 in three career starts against them.

Hours after slugger Giancarlo Stanton went on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain, the Yankees managed only three hits and zero runs through the first five innings against Fried.

The Yankees threatened in the sixth inning, when Trent Grisham’s leadoff single and Anthony Volpe’s RBI double cut the deficit to 3-1 with no outs. But Volpe got thrown out at third base on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Juan Soto, and Alex Verdugo grounded into an inning-ending double play two batters later to extinguish the rally.

Fried, who finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2022, struck out four — including Aaron Judge twice — and did not issue a walk. The 30-year-old is in the midst of another excellent season in his walk year, improving Sunday to 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA.

Soto struck out looking in the eighth inning after home plate umpire Chris Conroy did not grant him time. Soto turned his back as reliever Joe Jiménez threw a called third strike, prompting an unsuccessful argument from Soto.

Cortes, meanwhile, held Atlanta to three runs over seven innings, striking out seven. He fell to 4-6.

Jarred Kelenic’s third-inning solo home run just cleared the Yankee Stadium wall in right-center to put the Braves up 1-0. Kelenic added a fifth-inning sacrifice fly and Ozzie Albies delivered a two-out RBI single a batter later to complete the scoring against Cortes.

Cortes’ ERA at Yankee Stadium this season went up slightly to 1.84, compared to 5.57 on the road. The left-hander has pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts and did not issue a walk in the last two.

The Yankees (52-28) lost Friday night’s series opener, 8-1, against Atlanta (43-32) before bouncing back with a 8-3 victory on Saturday night.

But Sunday’s defeat cliched another series loss for the Yankees, who also dropped two out of three in Boston the previous weekend and to the Orioles at home last week. The Yankees had not lost two series consecutively before that stretch.

The Yankees have now lost four of their last five series, having also dropped two of three at home to the Dodgers from June 7-9 before taking three of four from the Royals in Kansas City.

Stanton’s injury dealt another blow to a Yankees lineup that is expected to be without Anthony Rizzo (broken forearm) for about two months. The center fielder Grisham and rookie first baseman Ben Rice, who effectively replaced Stanton and Rizzo in the Yankees’ lineup, both went 2 for 3 on Sunday.

The Yankees are off Monday, then return to action Tuesday night to kick off a two-game Subway Series at Citi Field. Gerrit Cole (0-0, 4.50) is set to make his second start of the season after working his way back from elbow inflammation, while David Peterson (3-0, 3.97 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Mets.