Swanson delivers in clutch as Braves edge A's
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Dansby Swanson hit tie-breaking doubles in the seventh and ninth innings, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.
The Braves have won the first two contests of the three-game, interleague series and will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon.
Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Danny Santana blooped a one-out single, stole second and third and scored on Swanson's double.
The Braves increased their lead to 3-1 in the eighth. Nick Markakis hit a leadoff double and scored with one out from third on Matt Adams' sacrifice fly.
But the A's pulled even with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. After reliever Arodys Vizcaino walked Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis crushed his next pitch for a 458-foot shot off a window in a luxury suite far beyond and above the left-center field fence. Davis' homer was his team-high 22nd of the season.
The Braves moved ahead 4-3 in the ninth with an unearned run. A's rookie shortstop Franklin Barreto booted Santana's ground ball with one out for his second error of the game. Santana stole second and scored on Swanson's double down the left field line off Santiago Casilla (1-3).
Jim Johnson, a former Athletic, pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 18th save of the season and second straight against Oakland.
Santana went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, stole three bases and scored twice.
Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision. Dickey allowed one run on six hits, struck out four and walked three. He has allowed a combined two runs over 20 innings over his past three starts, going 2-0.
A's right-hander Paul Blackburn received a no-decision despite allowing one unearned run on three hits over six innings in his major-league debut. Blackburn, who was called up Saturday from Triple-A Nashville, struck out four, walked one and threw 96 pitches. He pitched in front of a large contingent of family members and friends from his hometown of Brentwood, some 45 miles northeast of Oakland.
Ryon Healy went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI for the A's.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, scoring an unearned run off Blackburn. Tyler Flowers led off with a ground ball to Barreto, who airmailed his throw to first for a two-base error. Flowers scored on Santana's one-out double.
Oakland pulled even with a run in the fourth off Dickey. Davis walked with one out, moved to second on Yonder Alonso's bloop single to left and scored when Healy grounded a sharp single to center.
Matt Olson grounded a single to right, loading the bases, but Dickey got Josh Phegley to ground into a double play.
The A's stranded runners at first and third in the fifth inning when Dickey struck out Davis looking for the third out.
Atlanta moved ahead 2-1 with a run in the seventh off reliever Sean Doolittle. With one out, Santana hit a bloop single to shallow left when Barreto and left fielder Matt Joyce collided in an apparent case of miscommunication. Barreto got his glove on the ball, but a hard-charging Joyce knocked it out.
Santana stole second and third and scored on Swanson's double down the left field line.
NOTES: Braves 1B Matt Adams (left foot contusion) returned to the starting lineup after missing one game. Adams left Thursday's game against San Diego after fouling a ball off his left foot in the second inning. ... Oakland 3B Matt Chapman (left knee cellulitis) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday night with Class A Stockton and could be activated from the disabled list as early as Monday when the A's open a three-game series against the White Sox. Chapman initially was expected to begin his rehab assignment Sunday. ... A's 1B Yonder Alonso (right knee contusion) returned to the lineup Saturday against Atlanta after missing two starts. Alonso, who left Wednesday's game against Houston after fouling a ball off his knee in the eighth inning, pinch hit Friday. ... A's RHP Josh Smith was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. He had no decisions and a 6.75 ERA in 18 relief appearances for the A's. ... Former A's pitcher Barry Zito threw out the ceremonial first pitch to ex-A's catcher Ramon Hernandez on "Turn Back the Clock Day" at the Coliseum.