Olson Breaks Up No-Hitter in 9th, A’s Fall to Braves 3-1

June 30, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz works against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 30, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND–Sonny Gray had his best start of the season Friday night against the visiting Atlanta Braves, but Mike Foltynewicz fired the best game of his career, one-hitting the Oakland Athletics for eight innings in a 3-1 win. Matt Olson homered with no outs in the bottom of the ninth to break up the no-hitter and shutout in one swing. Rookie Dansby Swanson knocked in the lone run off Gray while Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle let in two runs on RBI hits by veterans Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp. Ex-Athletic closer Jim Johnson nailed down his 17th save of the year. Oakland continued its streak of being the team with the longest streak of avoiding being no-hit, a streak since 1991.

Foltynewicz (6-5, 3.83 ERA) was dealing, striking out 8 A’s hitters while coughing up just the one hit. He walked four A’s, but managed to work around the baserunners. He entered the ninth with his pitch count at 110, but a full-count battle with Olson resulted in a deep homer to the bleachers in right on a two-seam fastball from the 25-year-old.

With his starter’s pitch count at 119, interim manager Brian Snitker took the ball from Foltynewicz, handing it to Johnson for the save. Johnson allowed one hit before finishing up the game.

For Oakland, Gray’s eight innings of work were stellar in their own right and would normally have accounted for a win for the homer-happy A’s. Gray only struck out four but was highly effective, firing 62 of 98 pitches for strikes. He allowed only two hits, but they came in the same inning. Gray gave up a leadoff double to Johan Camargo to open the third, then Swanson doubled him home with one out to take a 1-0 Atlanta lead.

The Braves tacked on two insurance runs for the then-unhittable Foltynewicz off Doolittle in the ninth inning. Ender Inciarte scored from first on Brandon Phillips’ one-out double, then Phillips came around to score on Matt Kemp’s line drive single for a 3-0 lead at the time.

The young A’s will be tested Saturday when R.A. Dickey takes the hill Saturday for Atlanta, with many of the younger players getting their first looks at a knuckle ball. With Steven Wright of the Red Sox injured, this will be the first taste of the knuckler the A’s will get this year. The Green and Gold send Antioch native Paul Blackburn to the hill to oppose Dickey. Blackburn will be making his major league debut after going 5-6 with a 3.05 ERA for Triple-A Nashville.

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