ATLANTA — For the first time in almost four months, the Athletics do not have sole claim to first place in the AL West.
A four-game losing streak, including two straight losses to the Braves, and the change in the standings hasn’t affected the confidence of Oakland’s players, who insist their luck is bound to turn.
Sonny Gray gave up four runs in 5⅓ innings and homers by Stephen Vogt and John Jaso were not enough as Oakland fell to Atlanta 4-3 on Saturday night.
Chris Johnson drove in two runs with three hits for Atlanta, while Julio Teheran allowed two runs in six innings.
The A’s matched their worst skid of the season by losing four in a row as they fell percentage points behind the Angels in the AL West — .595 to .593. It is the first time since April 28 the A’s have not held sole possession of the division lead.
The A’s also lost four straight from May 22-25.
“It’s tough to go through this as a team but I feel like everyone goes through it and maybe this is our time right now,” Gray said.
“We’ve just got to go out there and play with confidence.”
Manager Bob Melvin said Gray (12-7) had no breaks as he gave up eight hits and suffered his fourth straight defeat.
“I thought he pitched well,” Melvin said. “He got a little tired at the end but three of those hits are bloops; two of them scored runs.”
Oakland hitters complained they also had no breaks, either.
“I can’t remember the last time we got a bloop hit,” said Jaso, whose eighth-inning homer off Jordan Walden cut Atlanta’s lead to one run.
“But that’s baseball. There’s a lot of season left.”
Oakland has dropped six of seven overall but still commands respect from the Braves.
“They’re a tough ballclub,” Johnson said. “They’ve played really well all year. We’re just trying to prove to ourselves we can play with them and we can stay in this thing.”
The Braves remained six games behind Washington in the NL East.