Oakland Athletics (73-49) at Atlanta Braves (62-60), 8:05 p.m. (ET)
08/16/2014 8:03 AM
08/17/2014 7:39 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester tries to make it four straight wins in an Oakland uniform on Sunday when the Athletics close out a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Lester improved to 7-0 in his last 11 starts on Tuesday in Kansas City, as he held the Royals to three runs and six hits in six innings to improve to 13-7 overall on the year to go along with a 2.52 ERA.
Since arriving from Boston, Lester is 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA. In addition to being unbeaten the last 11 times he's taken the ball, he's also pitched to a 1.46 ERA.
Lester has faced the Braves three times and is 2-1 against them with a 3.32 ERA.
Getting the call for Atlanta on Sunday will be lefty Mike Minor, who has lost three of his last four starts. Minor fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, as he allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, dropping him to 4-8 with a 5.33.
Minor had pitched to a 7.33 ERA in his previous 10 starts.
"Things were just easy," Minor said. "There was no time where I was pressured or I felt like I couldn't make a pitch or scared almost like, 'Don't miss the barrel or don't miss here.' It was one of those starts where I felt I'm kind of back where I want to be."
Atlanta added to Oakland's recent woes on Saturday, as Chris Johnson went 3- for-4 with a pair of RBI in the Braves'4-3 win.
Andrelton Simmons added two hits, including an RBI single, while Freddie Freeman continued his hot hitting by lacing a run-scoring double to support six effective innings from Julio Teheran.
Teheran (11-9) yielded just four hits, one a two-run homer from Stephen Vogt, and three walks to end a three-start losing streak and help the Braves post consecutive victories for the first time since taking three straight from San Diego on July 26-28.
Atlanta had dropped 12 of 16 prior to Friday's 7-2 triumph in the opener of this three-game series.
"We've been swinging the bat well, pitching's been good," said Freeman. "Got to keep going out there and keep going tomorrow and hopefully we can complete the sweep."
John Jaso had a solo homer for the A's, but Sonny Gray struggled over 5 1/3 innings in losing his fourth straight start. The young right-hander was tagged for four runs on eight hits.
With Saturday's setback, Oakland's fourth in a row and sixth in seven games, the A's had 106-day stay of sole possession of first place in the AL West. Oakland is now percentage points behind Anaheim for the top spot after the Angels downed Texas on Saturday.
"I think anything can go against us right now," said Gray. "We have to get out of it a little bit."
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