OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ozzie Albies hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a three-run fifth inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Wednesday to deny the Athletics’ bid for their first three-game winning streak this season.
The victory came at the end of a grueling stretch for the NL East-leading Braves. Atlanta played 19 games in 20 days, going 9-10 during that stretch heading into Thursday’s day off.
“These guys deserve this off day,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This is a rough go here with all the teams we played. Coming out here, I’m not making excuses but that did probably punch us in the gut a little bit.”
Oakland drew just 6,429 to the Coliseum, the 22nd time in 31 home games attendance has been under 10,000.
Jared Shuster (2-2) allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings to win consecutive decisions for the first time this season. Jesse Chavez, A.J. Minter, Nick Anderson and Raisel Iglesias combined to retire Oakland’s last 11 batters, with Iglesias getting three outs for his fifth save in six chances.
“I’m just throwing a lot more strikes,” said Shuster, who was called up from the minors on May 16. “Since I’ve been up, just trusting myself more and being more in sync with my deliveries has helped a lot.”
Oakland had three hits, the seventh time the A’s managed three hits or fewer.
“They’re one of the top teams in the league and I thought we competed in all three games,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We fell short today but the series in general, we did a lot of good things, a lot of good things we can build off of.”
Orlando Arcia had three singles and a walk, Ronald Acuña Jr. had two hits and drove in a run and Atlanta won for the third time in its last nine road games.
James Kaprielian (0-6) has the most consecutive losing decisions for an Oakland pitcher at a season’s start since Mike Mohler began 0-8 in 1997. Kaprielian, who has never lasted more than seven innings in 54 career starts, gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Albies homered on a slider for a 2-0 lead in the fifth. His 11 home runs are his most since a career-high 30 in 2021, when he was an All-Star.
“It feels great to get a win,’ Albies said. “Happy flight, happy off day.”
Riley, whose fielding error at third a night earlier allowed the A’s to score the game-ending run, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth following a two-out intentional walk to former A’s first baseman Matt Olson.
Oakland closed to 3-2 in the sixth on Ramón Laureano’s RBI single and Carlos Perez’s run-scoring groundout. Acuña hit an RBI single off Ken Waldichuk in the seventh.
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