A’s lose a heartbreaker to Braves 4-3; rookie pitcher is impressive in debut

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Braves vs Athletics 2:20 Twitter Video Game Wrap

Game Summary

The Oakland Athletics entered the game with the Atlanta Braves on Saturday in search of their first win in three games. They were also looking to rebound after just avoiding being no-hit on Friday night.

The Athletics had to turn to a rookie pitcher making his first start in the major leagues to face the Braves in the second game of the series. RHP Paul Blackburn was called up from Triple-A Nashville to make the spot start because Jharel Cotton is still battling a blister on his thumb. Blackburn had to face-off with cagey knuckleball throwing veteran R.A. Dickey.


The Braves put the first run on the board when Tyler Flowers scored from second base off Danny Santana’s double to left-center in the top of the second inning. Flowers had advanced into scoring position when SS Franklin Barreto’s throw sailed over the glove of Yonder Alonso into foul territory. Barreto was charged with an error. (Braves 1, A’s 0)

The A’s scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth when Ryon Healy hit a one-out single up the middle driving in Khris Davis from second base. Oakland had additional chances to score in the inning but did not take advantage of those opportunities. The inning ended on a bases loaded double-play. (Braves 1, A’s 1)

The Braves scored again in the seventh inning. Sean Doolittle replaced A’s starter Paul Blackburn on the mound. With one out, Danny Santana singled to left. He then proceeded to steal second base. Then in a very aggressive move, Santana moved up to third by stealing the base. Dansby Swanson hit a double and Santana scored easily. (Braves 2, A’s 1)

ATL swanson
Rookie Dansby Swanson had big day for the Braves*

Nick Markakis led off the eighth inning for the Braves by hitting a double to right field off Madson. Markakis moved to third when Matt Kemp grounded out. He scored when Matt Adams hit a sacrifice fly to left field. (Braves 3, A’s 1)

The Athletics roared back in the eighth inning. With one out, Jed Lowrie walked. That brought DH Khris Davis to the plate to face Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino who was brought in to pitch the eighth inning. Davis hit the 1-2 pitch from Vizcaino over the left-center field wall for a two-run home run to tie the game at 3-3. It was the 22nd home run of the season for Davis. (Braves 3, A’s 3).

In the ninth inning with Santiago Casilla on the mound, the Braves Danny Santana reached first base on a fielding error charged to Franklin Barreto. Santana then was able to successfully steal second. Dansby Swanson hit a double to left field that drove Santana home with what would prove to be the game winning run. (Braves 4, A’s 3).

Outstanding Performances


Paul Blackburn pitched 6.0-innings in his first major league start giving up just one run (unearned) on three hits. He struck out three batters and walked one.

Ryon Healy went 3-for-3 on the day plus a walk and a RBI (51). It was his 23rd multi-hit game of the season.

Khris Davis had a 1-for-3 game that included a two-run home run (22) and two RBI (56).

ATL davis hr
Khris Davis hit his 22nd HR of the season on Saturday*


Rookie Dansby Swanson had a 2-for-4 day at the plate. He hit two doubles and recorded two RBI (35).

Danny Santana also went 2-for-4 against the A’s plus he scored two runs and had one RBI.

Nick Markakis went just 1-for-4 but that one hit was a double that ultimately turned into a run.

Closer Jim Johnson – who struggled when was a Oakland Athletic – picked up his 18th save of the season. He worked a perfect ninth inning striking out two Athletics.

Player who had the toughest game of the day

Oakland rookie infielder Franklin Barreto really struggled on Saturday. He started at shortstop for the A’s and committed two errors which resulted in two Atlanta runs.

Most baseball experts see Barreto as a second baseman but he has seen a great deal of time at shortstop in the minor leagues. Fans cannot forget that Barreto is a rookie.


Oakland Manger Bob Melvin’s comments on the loss to Atlanta

Athletics Rookie Pitchers Paul Blackburn meets the media after the game

Meet Paul Blackburn

Blackburn was called up from Triple-A Nashville to make a spot start for Jharel Cotton who is dealing with a blister on his thumb.

  • He’s a Bay Area product who was born in Antioch
  • Blackburn attended Heritage High School in Brentwood
  • The pitcher was a 1st round draft choice (#56 overall) of the Cubs in 2012
  • Was traded by the Cubs to the Seattle Mariners on July 20, 2016 as a part of a four-player deal
  • Blackburn was dealt to the Athletics in November 2016 in the trade that sent infielder Danny Valencia to Seattle

Braves ATL Cap logo

Atlanta plans to send RHP Julio Teheran to the mound on Sunday to face the A’s. Teheran is 6-6 in 2012 with 5.30 ERA in 16 starts. He has given up 59 runs (53 earned) off 96 hits. Teheran has struck out 62 batters and walked 34.

Teheran has really struggled in the Braves new Sun Trust Park. Only one of his six victories has come at home in Atlanta. He is a much tougher pitcher on the road.

Teheran has faced the A’s just once in career back in 2014. He led the Braves to a 4-3 win over Oakland.

Athletics A's primary logo

 Oakland will counter by sending LHP Sean Manaea to the hill on Sunday. Manaea is 7-4 with a 3.87 ERA. His seven wins has him tied for ninth best in the American League. Left-handed hitters are batting just .127 off Manaea while right-handers are hitting him at .243 clip. The mark against lefties is the second lowest in the major leagues with 50 or more innings.

Manaea won his last start over the Astros in Houston on Monday. He worked 5.2-innings giving up one-run (earned) on nine-hits while walking three and striking three. Manaea has never faced Atlanta.

Matt Chapman visits Stockton

Matt Chapman logo

Matt Chapman’s rehab process from his bout with cellulitis in the left knee is running ahead of schedule which is great news for the Athletics. Chapman will be the Designated Hitter for the Ports in Stockton on Saturday night. He will then take a start at third base on Sunday for the Ports.

The A’s medical staff will evaluate Chapman’s knee after his weekend in Stockton in order to determine what the next step will be for the rookie. Chapman is eligible to come off the disabled list now.

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