Kurt Suzuki’s first multi-homer game since he played for the Oakland Athletics in 2011 powered his current team, the Atlanta Braves, over his former team for a 4-3 win in 12 innings on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum, as the Braves pulled off the series sweep.
Suzuki led off the top of the 12th inning with a blast to left center field, close to the same spot where he hit his first homer of the game, which opened the game’s scoring in the second inning.
After watching the Braves take the lead in the top half of the 11th inning, the A’s returned the run in the bottom half.
Johnson was brought in to protect a 3-2 lead provided by Matt Kemp’s double in the top of the inning, but he immediately walked Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso to lead off the inning. Bruce Maxwell’s double off the right field fence brought Davis around to tie the game at 3-3.
An intentional walk loaded the bases, and Adam Rosales followed with a short pop into center. Newly-minted All-Star Ender Inciarte made a tremendous sliding catch to keep the game alive. Johnson followed that by striking out Rajai Davis looking to send the game to the 12th.
Kemp’s double off the center field wall in the 11th inning to score Nick Markakis gave the Braves a 3-2 lead.
After Daniel Coulombe struck out Inciarte and Brandon Phillips to begin the top of the 11th, he walked Markakis to bring up Kemp, whose blast to deep center hit off the numbers on the fence and allowed Markakis to come around and score.
Coulombe railed off 13 straight appearances without allowing an earned run until his previous outing last week, and the Braves made it two in a row allowing an earned run.
The game was in extra innings thanks to the A’s scratching across a pair of runs in the seventh inning to tie the game.
Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran was great for much of the day, including going hitless through the first three innings. Alonso notched the first A’s hit with one out in the fourth inning, as he blooped a ball into right to beat the shift.
Teheran cruised through six innings, until Davis launched his second home run in as many days to lead off the seventh and cut the lead in half, to a 2-1 Braves lead.
More trouble lurked in the inning, as a Franklin Barreto pop up to second base fell for a hit because Phillips lost the ball in the sun and had it land a few feet behind him. Teheran walked the next two hitters, loading the bases and ending his day.
Jason Motte came on to face Adam Rosales, and got the out, at a cost. Rosales skied a routine fly ball into center field, but it was deep enough to score Barreto easily on the sacrifice fly, to tie the game at 2-2.
As well as Teheran pitched, he went down with a no-decision. He allowed four hits and two runs in 6 1⁄3 innings on Sunday. He walked four and struck out eight, as his fastball was electric, touching 95 miles per hour several times.
Inciarte registered the first of his three hits on the day to lead off the game, and the Braves put a pair of runners on in the first inning but failed to score.
Suzuki led off the second inning with a long home run to left center field. A’s starter Sean Manaea left a fastball above the belt out over the plate and Suzuki got his arms extended and launched it into the seats. The Braves added another run with some A-B-C baseball later in the inning.
Danny Santana walked and promptly stole second base. He was originally called out but the Braves challenged and it was ruled Santana got his hand to the bag before the tag was applied. Camargo’s groundout moved him up to third, and Inciarte drove him home with his second hit — a double — to give Atlanta the 2-0 edge. Phillips followed with another hit, but Inciarte was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Manaea was magnificent as well, outside of the second inning. In 7 1⁄3 innings, he gave up two runs on six hits, with a pair of walks and six punch outs.
Santana prevented an A’s rally from getting off the ground in the eighth inning. Matt Olson — who homered to break up Mike Foltynewicz’s no-hitter on Friday — hit a ball off the wall in left to lead off the inning. But the ball hit hard off the fence and Santana threw a strike to second to gun Olson out by three steps.
Not related to the game action, an A’s fan sitting behind home plate caught three foul balls during the game. He caught two on successive pitches early in the game on consecutive Santana foul balls, then caught another in the 10th inning.
The Braves concluded the first half of the season just one game under the .500 mark, with a 40-41 record, no small feat for a team without star player Freddie Freeman without much of that stretch.
Atlanta has a day off on Monday before welcoming the Houston Astros to town for a pair of games Tuesday and Wednesday, to begin the season’s final week before the All-Star break.