OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kurt Suzuki’s first home run against his former club made the Atlanta catcher smile. The second felt even better and extended the Braves recent run of good fortune.
Just another twist in Atlanta’s up-and-down season.
Suzuki led off the 12th inning with his second home run of the game, lifting the Braves over the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
“It gives you a little extra adrenalin, I guess you could say,” Suzuki said. “I got a little bit of cheers in the beginning of the game. I know the coaching staff over there. I’ve played for those guys. It’s a good adrenalin feel coming around the bases.”
One inning after Atlanta closer Jim Johnson got his sixth blown save, Suzuki lined a shot to left on a 3-1 pitch from John Axford (0-1). Suzuki also homered off starter Sean Manaea to begin the second.
It’s the third multihomer of Suzuki’s career and first since 2011, when he was with Oakland. The veteran catcher had not gone deep against his previous club until these homers helped Atlanta finish its six-game West Coast trip on a positive note after a rocky beginning.
“Couldn’t happen to a better guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Big hit after big hit all year for him. It’s nice to see when good things happen to the good guys.”
Johnson (6-1) got the win despite three walks, and Arodys Vizcaino retired three batters for his second save. Vizcaino got Franklin Barreto to fly out with two runners on to end it.
The Braves wasted leads of 2-0 and 3-2 but held on to win for the 11th time in 15 games.
Khris Davis hit his 23rd home run and reached base four times for the A’s. Oakland has lost five straight.
The A’s wasted multiple opportunities to win in extra innings. They stranded two runners in the 10th, and Rajai Davis struck out looking against Johnson with the bases loaded to end the 11th.
“We maximized our opportunity in one inning and we didn’t come through, and that cost us,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “(Suzuki) is smart and he knows when to look for a fastball and get the head out, and he did both times.”
Atlanta took a 3-2 lead when Kemp doubled off the wall in center with two outs in the 11th. Oakland rookie Jaycob Brugman attempted to make a leaping catch but missed.
Bruce Maxwell’s RBI single off Johnson in the bottom of the inning tied it.
A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso and Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte were selected Sunday as reserves for the All-Star Game in Miami on July 11. It’s the first trip to the All-Star Game for both players.
Alonso was born in Cuba but went to high school in Coral Gables, Florida, before playing baseball at the University of Miami, so this trip will be a homecoming for the breakout slugger. Melvin informed Alonso of his selection shortly before Sunday’s game.
“He just put his arms up and said ‘Congratulations kid, you’re going to Miami, you’re going home,'” Alonso recalled. “You know my eyes got watery.”
Braves left fielder Danny Santana hadn’t even attempted to steal a base during his first 37 games with Atlanta but went 4 for 4 over the final two games against Oakland. Santana, who swiped three bags on Saturday, had another on Sunday after he singled in the second. He was initially ruled out, but the call was overturned on replay.
FAN’S NIFTY GLOVE WORK
An A’s fan wearing a yellow Sonny Gray T-shirt and sitting in the front row of the second deck between home plate and first base drew a rousing ovation from the Coliseum crowd of 18,438 when he made two nice catches on back-to-back foul balls in the fourth inning. After making the second catch, the fan waved his arms toward home plate, gesturing for another to come his way. It did – in the 10th inning when the same fan caught another foul ball.
Braves: Freddie Freeman played third base Saturday as he began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. He had a walk and a strikeout in two plate appearances before the game was suspended due to rain. He is next expected to play Monday after taking Sunday off. Freeman has missed 44 games with a fractured left wrist.
Athletics: 3B Ryon Healy left the game after the second inning because of back spasms. … Melvin is hopeful of getting SS Marcus Semien back for a four-game series in Seattle before the All-Star break. Semien has been out since April 15 with a fractured scaphoid bone. … Matt Chapman was slated to play 3B for Class A Stockton and is likely to rejoin the big league club Monday.
Braves: Following a day off Monday, LHP Sean Newcomb (1-2, 1.48) will make his first career appearance against Houston on Tuesday in the opener of a brief two-game homestand.
Athletics: RHP Jharel Cotton (5-7, 5.02) makes his first start since June 23 on Monday in the series opener against the White Sox. Cotton’s last start was a win against the White Sox.