ATLANTA (AP) — The Braves are trying to use a visit from Oakland, who came to Atlanta with the majors' best record, to prove they shouldn't be dismissed in the NL playoff hunt.
Chris Johnson drove in two runs with three hits, Julio Teheran threw six strong innings and the Braves edged the suddenly struggling Athletics 4-3 on Saturday night.
"We're not giving up. We're not going to crumble," Johnson said after the Braves remained six games behind Washington in the NL East. Atlanta began the night two games behind the NL wild-card leaders.
The A's matched their worst skid of the season by losing four in a row as they fell percentage points behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. It is the first time since April 28 they have not held sole possession of first place in the division.
"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," said Sonny Gray, who gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings.
"We've just got to go out there and play with confidence."
Oakland has dropped six of seven overall.
"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."
Teheran (11-9) gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. The Braves had lost 12 of 15 before winning the first two games of the series.
Craig Kimbrel got his 36th save in 40 chances.
Manager Bob Melvin said Gray (12-7) had no breaks as he gave up eight hits and absorbed 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."
There was a brief delay in the bottom of the sixth when a nude man ran onto the field. He was quickly tackled by security officers and taken off the field.
Stephen Vogt hit a two-run homer and John Jaso also homered for Oakland. The A's also lost four straight from May 22-25.
Atlanta closed it out after Josh Reddick led off the A's ninth with a long fly ball that Justin Upton caught at the left-field wall.
Freddie Freeman hit an RBI double and scored on Johnson's single to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the first. Upton led off the fourth with a single and scored on Andrelton Simmons' two-out, bloop single to left field for a 3-0 lead.
Continue reading this story on the...