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In a battle for the best team to wear an "A" on their cap, the A's dropped a close affair in extra innings against the Braves. Game 82 means we've officially started the season's second half, but unlike the first game of the first half, the A's were unable to prevail.
Former Athletic Kurt Suzuki opened the scoring on a solo homerun in the second, and the Braves grabbed another run in the same frame on an Ender Inciarte double. The game would stay 2-0 into the seventh when the Athletics equalized on a Khris Davis solo home run and an Adam Rosales sacrifice fly which plated Franklin Barreto.
Neither the A's nor the Braves scored another before the ninth ended, so the fans were treated to some free baseball on a holiday weekend. The A's fell into trouble in the 11th, and went behind again after Nick Markasis doubled to score Matt Kemp, but the relentless A's tied again in the bottom of the 11th when Khris Davis came around on a Bruce Maxwell single.
In the 12th, the Braves finally overcame the A's for good. You can always appreciate baseball games that have an element of symmetery, and just as the scoring began, it ended with a Kurt Suzuki home run. After making two quick outs in their half of the 12th, hope appeared for Oakland in the form of two baserunners - Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso - but another comeback was not to be. Franklin Barreto flied out to end the game.
Sometimes a great starting pitching effort can be lost in the shuffle of a long game, but Sean Manaea was absolutely brilliant today. He worked into the eighth inning, allowing seven hits and striking out six. It was certainly one of his better performances of the season. The bullpen largely pitched well too, eating up more than four innings. But the Braves pitching just outlasted Oakland's. Teheran was not better than Manaea, but was much better than he's been in 2017. He pitched into the seventh, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. And the Braves bullpen shook off a blown save to close out the game an inning later.
One point of concern - Ryon Healy was removed in the second inning with what Jane Lee is reporting are back spasms. Also announced, Jesse Hahn is being sent back to Nashville after two dreadful starts. Paul Blackburn will take his spot in the rotation. On the positive side, just after the game concluded, Yonder Alonso was officially announced as the A's all-star representative. While he will start on the bench, it's a wonderful reward for a player having a career year.
Perhaps the best news of all after being swept is the A's get three more games with a team who they recently swept - the Chicago White Sox. The South Siders come into town tomorrow; first pitch is at 7:05 PM. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend everyone!