ATLANTA — The Oakland Athletics are reeling. They no longer have sole possession of first place in the AL West, and Jon Lester’s winning streak came to an end Sunday night.
Lester was outpitched by Mike Minor and Oakland lost 4-3 to the Atlanta Braves, sending their season-long skid to five games.
Lester had won his last seven decisions, but the left-hander’s focus was on the team’s sudden downturn.
“Guys are competing, we just aren’t getting results right now,” he said.
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“The times that we need to get a guy in, we’re just not doing it. The times we need to make a pitch, we’re not doing it. This team’s too good to stay in this funk.”
Minor (5-8) gave up two runs in seven innings for Atlanta, which swept the three-game series. Justin Upton and Chris Johnson homered.
The A’s have lost seven of eight overall and trail the Angels, who lost to Texas on Sunday, by percentage points in the AL West. Before Saturday’s loss, Oakland had been alone in first place since April 28.
“This is really the first bad road trip we’ve had this year,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “This was not a good trip. So we’ve got to get home and we’ve got to regroup. It will be good to get home in front of our crowd. They’re usually good for us.”
Oakland’s Nate Freiman hit two homers, giving him three in the series, but Minor allowed only two other hits.
Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth for his 37th save.
Lester (13-8) allowed four runs, three earned, and six hits in six-plus innings in his first loss since June 7 for the Red Sox at Detroit. The Tacoma native had been 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in three starts since his July 31 trade to the A’s.