Braves 2-7 A’s (May 29, 2023) Game Summary

OAKLAND, Calif. — — Gathered in the indoor batting cage hours before the game, manager Mark Kotsay spoke to his Oakland A’s players during an early meeting about the Atlanta Braves and reiterated all the little things it takes to win a game.

Ryan Noda hit a three-run home run that derailed Michael Soroka’s long-awaited return to the majors because of two separate tears to his right Achilles tendon, and the A’s beat the East-leading Braves 7-2 on Monday night. of the National League, to break an 11-game series. losing streak with only his 11th win of the season.

“There was good energy,” Kotsay said. “Obviously, ending the losing streak was important. That was definitely something that weighed on the guys. But to see the excitement in the dugout, especially when Noda hits a three-run home run that puts us up, they perked up and that was a good sign.”

In another comeback story, A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn came off the disabled list to make his season debut, striking out six with a pair of walks in four innings. He allowed four hits and one run as the A’s (11-45) won for the second time in 16 games. Oakland had more losses in 55 games than any other major league team since 1900.

“We’ve been needing that little good swing, good game, good pitch,” Noda said. “We have come so close. Nice day.”

Blackburn had been sidelined with a broken nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. He also dealt with a blister, this after going on the disabled list last season because that same finger was swollen with a torn flexor tendon sheath.

Lucas Erceg (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings of no-hitter relief with four strikeouts for his first major league victory. Returning home to the Bay Area after being acquired from Milwaukee in a trade on May 17, he battled the emotions of the moment — after washing himself off a celebratory shower, that is.

“It was anything and everything that was poured over me. Just another time for me to think about later in life. It’s something I’ll never forget,” said the former infielder, very grateful for “the great amount of support I received from old teammates and friends who grew up in the Bay Area.”

He referenced his struggles with alcohol, which went along with depression, which led to his sobriety that began nearly three years ago in June 2020.

Braves slugger Matt Olson hit his 17th home run in the eighth off Shintaro Fujinami. Oakland responded in the bottom half with RBI singles by Ramón Laureano, Shea Langeliers and Jace Peterson to make it 7–2.

Soroka allowed four runs and five hits in six innings for Atlanta, tied with the Dodgers for the best mark in the National League. He struck out three, walked two and trailed 4-1.

The right-hander was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to start against the A’s on Memorial Day, a whopping 1,030 days between starts for the Braves’ opening day starter in 2020.

“I always said that I would come back here for the people who believed in me, not for the ones who said I couldn’t,” Soroka said.

The 25-year-old pitcher received cheers from Braves fans as he ran to the mound in the bottom of the first to make his 38th career start and his first major league appearance since Aug. 3, 2020. He seemed unfazed for the moment, calmly retiring the full-back in order on the first over 13 shots.

Left fielder Eddie Rosario made a jumping catch on the wall to lead off the second, robbing Aledmys Diaz of a home run as Soroka watched delightedly.

“Come on, Michael!” yelled a fan.

Soroka (0-1) didn’t allow a hit until Jonah Bride’s one-out single in the third, but quickly loaded the bases with another single and a hit. He was uninjured after inducing Seth Brown’s late-inning double play.

But then Soroka hit Langeliers with a pitch to start the fifth and allowed an RBI single to Esteury Ruiz before Noda’s drive gave Oakland a 4-1 lead.

Sean Murphy had given Soroka a 1–0 lead with a first-inning RBI single against his former team.

Soroka went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and sixth for the Cy Young Award. He first ruptured his Achilles tendon on August 3, 2020 and then had more bad luck. A setback led to follow-up surgery, then he tore the same Achilles tendon again while he rehabbed midway through the 2021 season.

This spring, Soroka had another complication in his return due to a hamstring injury.

“It’s been a whirlwind and I’m kind of excited to put that story behind us now and get back to zero,” Soroka said.


Braves third baseman Austin Riley extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single.


Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead and RHP Freddy Tarnok, each dealing with a sprained pitching shoulder, are set to pitch two simulated innings each on Tuesday and then another time before beginning their rehab assignments.


The A’s recalled Bride from Triple-A Las Vegas, sent RHP Garrett Acton to Las Vegas and designated 1B/DH Jesús Aguilar for assignment.


Braves RHP Bryce Elder (3-0, 2.01 ERA) begins the mid-game of the series Tuesday night against LHP JP Sears (0-3, 4.70).


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