ATLANTA - The Yankees and their skidding offense could not have hand-picked a better pitcher to face Friday night than Williams Perez.
The Braves righthander had lost four of his last five decisions and allowed 26 earned runs in that span for a 7.98 ERA.
Now those numbers are worse.
The Yankees pounced early, driving Perez from the game after 12/3 innings and coasting to a 15-4 victory in front of 35,546 at Turner Field.
The Yankees (70-57), who had lost five of seven games and scored four runs in their previous three games, stayed 11/2 games behind the AL East-leading Blue Jays.
Masahiro Tanaka was spotted a 5-0 lead before taking the mound but allowed two of those back in the bottom half before settling down. He gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Perez, 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his first seven starts this season before landing on the disabled list with a left foot contusion, actually retired the first two batters in each of the first and second innings.
Which means the Yankees, who finished with 16 hits -- including a pair of three-run homers by Didi Gregorius (four hits, six RBIs) and Brian McCann -- scored a combined nine runs on six hits and six walks with two outs in that span.
Carlos Beltran started the two-out rally in the first inning with a single, the first of his three hits. McCann, a member of the Braves from 2005-13 who received a nice ovation before his at-bat, and Greg Bird both walked, loading the bases for Chase Headley. He hammered a get-me-over fastball to left-center for a two-run double that made it 2-0. Gregorius then lined a flat 1-and-0 sinker into the seats in right for his seventh homer to make it 5-0.
That gave the Yankees more runs than they had scored in the previous three games combined.
Tanaka struggled with his command in the bottom half, a 27-pitch inning. Nick Markakis singled, Cameron Maybin walked and Freddie Freeman singled to make it 5-1 before former Yankee Nick Swisher hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Adonis Garcia singled but Tanaka got out of it, though barely. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury, battling a sore right hip, chased down Christian Bethancourt's drive to the warning track in centerfield, crashing to the dirt as he did so.
The Yankees blew it open in the second, sending 10 to the plate. Gardner and Beltran singled with two outs and McCann walked to load the bases, ending Perez's night. In came lefthander Ross Detwiler, who walked Bird and Headley to force home two runs. Gregorius then smoked a two-run single to leftfield to make it 9-2.
Tanaka went to 3-and-2 on each of the first two hitters in the bottom of the second but ended up striking out the side as he began to find his rhythm.
After Garcia's single, Tanaka retired 19 of the next 20, with Freddie Freeman's 15th homer the lone blip in that stretch.
McCann's 23rd homer of the season, a three-run shot, and Gregorius' two-out RBI single made it 13-3 in the eighth. Chris Young homered as the Yankees scored two runs against Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes in the ninth.