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Ryan Noda homers, A’s snap losing streak with 7-2 win over Braves

Noda homers for the second straight game.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Blackburn made his season debut, and Ryan Noda homered again to help the Oakland Athletics to a 7-2 win in their series opener against the Atlanta Braves.

Blackburn needed just one pitch to retire Ronald Acuña Jr. in the first, but a pair of ex-Oakland A’s quickly had him in a tough spot. Matt Olson walked and then advanced all the way to third on a single by Austin Riley. Sean Murphy then guided a grounder back through the middle to score Olson to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead. Blackburn finished the inning strong though striking out Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario to end the frame with no further damage.

Blackburn settled in after allowing the early run and retired the side in order in the second while tallying another strikeout. Aledmys Diaz nearly put the A’s on the board to start the home half of the second, but Eddie Rosario pulled it back at the wall for just a long out.

Blackburn retired Acuña and Olson to start the third before allowing another single to Riley. He then fell behind Murphy 2-0 prompting a visit from the team trainer to check on the condition of a blister that Blackburn developed during his rehab assignment. Blackburn stayed in the game and walked Murphy, but then got Ozuna to pop out to Ryan Noda at first to leave the runners stranded.

The A’s threatened in the third, but came away empty handed. Jonah Bride hit a one out single and then moved up to second on another hit by Esteury Ruiz. Noda was then hit by a pitch from Michael Soroka to load the bases. However, Seth Brown grounded into an inning-ending double play to kill the rally.

Blackburn struck out Rosario again to start the fourth, but then allowed a double to Ozzie Albies. Once again, Blackburn battled back striking out Orlando Arcia and then got Michael Harris to ground out to first.

That would end Blackburn’s night as he was replaced by Lucas Erceg to start the fifth. Blackburn pitched well allowing four hits, two walks and one run over four innings. He struck out six while throwing 81 pitches.

Erceg retired the side in order in the fifth and the A’s finally got on the board against Soroka. Langeliers was hit by a pitch to start the inning but was erased as Jace Peterson tried to execute a sacrifice bunt which Olson fielded and fired to second to retire the lead runner. Bride followed with another single to put runners at first and second. Ruiz then tied the game with a single that scored Peterson. Noda then cleared the bases with a three-run home run to right to put Oakland up 4-1.

Erceg continued his good work out of the bullpen adding two more strikeouts in a perfect sixth and then retired the side in order in the seventh. Erceg was lights out retiring all nine hitters he faced over three innings to go along with four strikeouts.

Shintaro Fujinami entered in the eighth and allowed a solo home run to Olson to make it 4-2. The A’s would get that run back and plenty more in the home half of the inning against Braves reliever Lucas Luetge. Brown struck out, but Diaz reached on a hit by pitch. Mark Kotsay then sent Brent Rooker up as a pinch-hitter who worked a walk on four pitches. Ramon Laureano cashed it in with a single to left that scored Diaz to extend the lead to 5-2. Langeliers then reached on an infield single that scored pinch runner Nick Allen to make it 6-2. Peterson followed with another single to left to extend the lead to 7-2.

Trevor May allowed a one-out double to Rosario in the ninth, but got Albies to fly out for the second out and then got Arcia to pop out to end the game.

The win snaps Oakland’s 11-game losing streak and improves their record to 11-45 on the season. The series will continue Tuesday with JP Sears matching up against Atlanta right-hander Bryce Elder.