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A’s drop finale to Braves 4-2

Rooker sparks offense but Oakland fails to capitalize

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics hung tough again, but saw their two-game winning streak come to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Esteury Ruiz got the game started off right, by reaching base on an Orlando Arcia error. Ruiz stole second to up his major league leading total to 28, but was picked off for the third straight game. Ryan Noda worked a two-out walk, but Ramon Laureano popped out to leave him stranded.

The A’s threatened again in the third as Jace Peterson walked. Nick Allen then dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but Atlanta failed to cover first base. Ruiz then popped up another bunt attempt for the first out. The rally would end as Brent Rooker went down looking and Noda grounded out to end the inning.

James Kaprielian held the Braves to one hit over the first four innings, but things came apart in the fifth. Eddie Rosario singled to right with one out and then scored on a two-run home run by Ozzie Albies. Arcia singled, but Kaprielian struck out Michael Harris for the second out. Ronald Acuña Jr. then hit a ground-rule double to center to put runners at second and third. Mark Kotsay opted to intentionally walk Matt Olson, but Kaprielian hit Austin Riley with the bases loaded to force in another run.

Kotsay then made the call to the pen and Kap was replaced by Richard Lovelady who got Travis d’Arnaud to pop up for the third out.

Kaprielian finished the day having allowed five hits and three runs over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four.

The A’s clawed back in the game in the sixth. Brent Rooker got things going with a double and Ryan Noda followed that up with a walk. With runners on first and second, Laureano delivered a run scoring single to make it 3-1. After a pitching change, Ryan Noda scored off a Carlos Perez groundout to make it 3-2. The inning ended after Acuña Jr made a spectacular catch on a fly ball by pinch hitter Seth Brown.

Ken Waldichuk replaced Lovelady in the seventh and things began to unravel again. After giving up a single and walk, Acuña singled home Arcia to push the deficit to 4-2.

The Braves’ bullpen retired nine straight over the final three innings to end the game.

Despite the loss, the A’s win just their second series of the season. They will enjoy an off day Thursday before opening up a three-game series Friday in Miami against the Marlins.