OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Rookie Spencer Strider overcame a rough start, Vaughn Grissom and Dansby Swanson homered and the Atlanta Braves won their seventh in a row, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Wednesday.
Robbie Grossman, Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. also drove in runs for Atlanta, which beat Oakland for the 11th straight time dating to 2008.
The Braves began the day tied with the Mets for the NL East lead but fell a half-game back when New York swept a doubleheader in Pittsburgh.
“It’s been incredible,” said Grissom, another rookie. “Winning is super fun. These guys, we’re all jelling and it’s just been unreal.”
Added Atlanta manager Brian Snitker: “It’s all about winning today’s game for these guys, no matter who we’re playing. … They prepare that way. They’re consistent. It does say a lot about this team.”
Seth Brown homered for the A’s, who have lost six of their last seven games.
Strider (10-4) struck out nine and won his third consecutive start and fourth straight decision. In his previous outing, he set an Atlanta record by fanning 16.
Strider gave up two runs on three walks and a hit in the first inning before retiring 15 straight batters. The 23-year-old righty allowed only one more hit before leaving after the sixth.
“I think this is probably the one I’m going to be most proud of so far,” Strider said. “I just came out in the first and had no command. … Came in and just reset and then by the third inning, I thought, you know, hey, my fastball has been great the last few outings, why am I being passive? So just kind of stepped on the gas and made it work.”
A’s batters struck out 16 times overall and got just three hits.
Stephen Vogt put Oakland ahead in the first inning with an RBI double. Ramón Laureano followed with an RBI groundout to make it 2-0.
Grissom tied the game with a two-run homer off rookie Ken Waldichuk in the fifth. Swanson put Atlanta in front with a solo homer in the sixth.
Waldichuk (0-1) allowed three runs on three hits with two strikeouts in his second career start and home debut.
“I thought Ken did a great job,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “Outside of the two home runs, he really pitched well today.”
Ozuna added an RBI single in the seventh. Grossman followed with a two-run double and Acuña tacked on an RBI single to make it 7-2.
Brown hit his career-high 21st home run in the eighth.
Braves: Acuña served as the designated hitter for the seventh straight game as Atlanta tries to limit the workload on his right knee following ACL surgery last year. … RHP Jake Odorizzi (arm fatigue) threw a bullpen session and is expected to start Sunday at Seattle.
Athletics: 2B/OF Tony Kemp was held out of the lineup with groin tightness and is considered day-to-day. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to be lingering,” Kotsay said. … OF Skye Bolt (right knee patella subluxation) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday. … RHP Brent Honeywell Jr. (stress reaction in right elbow) will pitch two innings in his next rehab outing with Las Vegas. “His velocity is there,” Kotsay said. “From the performance standpoint, I don’t think it’s in line with kind of where he feels he should be. So I think this next outing we’ll really take a look at the performance side as well.”
Braves: RHP Charlie Morton (7-5, 4.01 ERA) opens a three-game series at Seattle on Friday. It will be the first meeting between the teams since Aug. 23, 2017, a 9-6 Mariners win.
Athletics: LHP JP Sears (5-1, 2.37) begins a four-game home series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Sears is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in five starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees.
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