Anderson 'felt right at home' in Bronx win

Upstate N.Y. native dominates Yankees in front of family

April 22nd, 2021

Provided another chance to pitch against the Yankees club he hated while growing up a Red Sox fan, entertained the family members who came to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night to see him produce one of his finest starts in a 4-1 Braves win over the Yankees.

“I've always been very impressed with the way he carries himself,” Braves third baseman said. “He’s just so mature for only being in the league for a short time. He has that composure, and I think that goes a long way for him.”

Showing the same stoic poise from when he made his first six regular-season starts and four postseason starts last year, Anderson scattered four hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He became the first Braves pitcher to complete more than six innings this year. In the process, he showed now sign of being fazed by the surroundings or wintry weather.

In fact, the latter added to the comfort he felt while pitching in front of his parents and his 83-year-old grandmother, Beverly Anderson, who traveled from her home in Rotterdam, N.Y., to Yankee Stadium for the special occasion. This marked the first time she had been present to see her grandson pitch since the Braves took him with the third overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Mrs. Anderson’s late husband and most of the other family members spent decades loving the Red Sox. But it’s all about the Braves now.

“My dad set her up with the MiLB login and all of that,” Anderson said. “So, she would watch all those [Minor League] games. Last year, he set her up with [MLB.TV]. She started watching games, even when I wasn’t pitching. She enjoys it.”

Well, Mrs. Anderson had a chance to see her grandson turn up the heat in a timely fashion. He set the bar so high last year, when he posted a 1.95 ERA in six regular-season starts and then began his postseason career with 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. So there was reason to question what might be wrong when he hadn’t been dominant in any of his first three starts.

But the upstate New York native (from Rexford, north of Albany) appeared to be right at home as he cruised through this outing -- much like he did when making his MLB debut on Aug. 26. That day, he limited the Yankees to one run and one hit over six innings.

Making this latest win more rewarding was the fact Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were both in the Yankees’ lineup. They had been hurt when Anderson debuted last summer in Atlanta.

“The lineup looked a little bit different this time, and the ballpark was different obviously,” Anderson said. “But I felt right at home out there.”

Anderson had retired 10 of the past 12 batters faced before issuing consecutive walks to load the bases in the seventh. A.J. Minter entered and induced a DJ LeMahieu groundout to end the Yankees’ only true threat of the night.

“That was huge,” Anderson said. “I lost command a little bit there and started to kind of go more to the offspeed. But A.J. coming in and getting that out, I’d say, was the key to the game.”

With Anderson setting the tone, the injury-depleted Braves gained a split of this two-game series and ended this road trip, 3-2, with a little momentum. They might be just a day from welcoming Ronald Acuña Jr. back to a lineup that would significantly benefit from a surge by Riley, who tallied his first extra-base hit of the season when he snuck a fly ball over the right-field wall in the ninth.

Riley’s homer combined by some patience against a fatiguing Corey Kluber in the fifth allowed the Braves to provide some support for Anderson, who has realized his childhood dreams of dominating the Yankees.

“Two wins, that’s all you can ask for,” Anderson said. “It’s awesome.”