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Chris Sale aims for eighth straight win as Braves face A’s

MLB: Game Two-San Diego Padres at Atlanta BravesMay 20, 2024; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Chris Sale (51) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Braves left-hander Chris Sale looks for his eighth straight win Saturday afternoon when Atlanta hosts the Oakland A’s in the middle game of a three-game series.

Sales (8-1, 2.12 ERA) will be countered by Oakland right-hander Aaron Brooks (0-2, 3.63). The Braves won the series opener 4-2 on Friday, ending a two-game losing streak, while Oakland has lost three in a row.

Sale hasn’t lost since April 13 and has conceded just three runs in his past six starts. In his most recent start on Sunday, he pitched seven innings and allowed one run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in an 8-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final game of a six-game trip.

“I just do what I have to do,” Sale said. “We all have our role in the team. We post every fifth day and try to keep the runs off the board. Take every start, you want to win. (The team) has had some tough moments in the last few days. You want to to end on a good note on the way home.”

Sale has made 16 career appearances (11 starts) against Oakland, going 6-4 with a 2.69 ERA.

Brooks will make his fourth start since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 15. He took the loss in his last start against the Houston Astros on Sunday when he pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on nine hits with three walks and one strikeout as Oakland fell 5-2.

Brooks pitched well until shortstop Max Schuemann opened the door in the fourth inning by bobbing a ball for an error, then threw wildly to second base for another error.

“After that play happens, you’d like to get the next one out,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “We let the game pass us by a bit.”

Brooks has never faced the Braves.

The A’s had to place pitcher Lucas Erceg on the 15-day injured list on Friday due to right forearm tightness. He becomes the eighth player to make the list in the last 26 days. Oakland has used the injured list 19 times this season, tied with the Texas Rangers for the most in the Majors, and currently has 13 players sidelined.

Oakland may get a lift from right-hander Brady Basso, who made his Major League debut on Friday and pitched a perfect inning.

Atlanta’s struggling offense scored for the first time in 10 games in the first inning on Friday and showed signs of waking from its slumber. The Braves have scored two or fewer runs in 10 of their past 24 games. Marcell Ozuna singled and reached base safely in 24 straight games.

“It was nice to see the team score points so early,” Atlanta starter Reynaldo Lopez said. “You kind of get the sense that, as an offense, we’re starting to click a little bit. I think what we did tonight was just a demonstration of what we’re capable of, and I think we’re just starting to warm up.”

–Field-level media