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Game Thread #124: Oakland Athletics at Atlanta Braves

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN kicks off at 5:05 pm Pacific Time with Oakland's Jon Lester facing Atlanta's Mike Minor.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The A's need a win, though not as badly as they could have had old friend Adam Rosales not helped them out earlier on behalf of the Texas Rangers, against the Los Angeles Angels. With a win over Atlanta, Oakland would reclaim a one-game lead in the American League West after watching the Angels lose in walk-off fashion today. Though that lead has been tenuous since the All-Star Break, the past day was the first in recent memory where the A's haven't led their division outright.

Left-hander Jon Lester, 13-7 with a 2.51 ERA, faces off against fellow lefty Mike Minor, sporting a 4-8 record with a 5.33 ERA, looking to right the ship and continue his impressive run in a green and gold uniform.

Oakland is 3-0 in Lester's three starts since being dealt to Oakland. Lester has proved his worth since the trade, but the A's haven't done the same independent of their new ace's efforts. All the same, tonight is a prime example of why dealing for Lester may have been necessary. When the going is rough, it's a great feeling to be able to turn to a seasoned veteran and elite pitcher like Lester, and as well as Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray have pitched this year, neither of them garners that distinction quite yet.

Today's Lineups

Coco Crisp - CF Jason Heyward - RF
Jonny Gomes - LF Phil Gosselin - 2B
Josh Donaldson - 3B Freddie Freeman - 1B
Derek Norris - C Justin Upton - LF
Brandon Moss - RF Chris Johnson - 3B
Nate Freiman - 1B Evan Gattis - C
Alberto Callaspo - 2B Andrelton Simmons - SS
Andy Parrino - SS B.J. Upton - CF
Jon Lester - LHP Mike Minor - LHP

Josh Reddick gets the night off against the left-handed Minor — Brandon Moss will patrol right field instead, with Jonny Gomes in left field. Only one catcher tonight, in the form of Derek Norris.

First pitch is at 5:05 on ESPN. Not a typo.