Braves 11, Athletics 6
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Bobby Cox knew the ball could carry in the Oakland Coliseum, he just didn’t realize how often.
“This ballpark, we just heard the ball goes out. But, man, it flies out,” the Atlanta manager said.
“Five home runs, it’s something you’ve never heard of,” Cox said. “We got some pitches to hit tonight.”
How does this park compare to the Braves’ old home, Fulton County Stadium, known for being home-run friendly?
“It flies better here,” Cox said. “It jumps.”
Horacio Ramirez (5-2) won his fourth straight decision to help Atlanta bounce back a night after having its 11-game interleague winning streak snapped. The Braves are 19-4 against the American League the past two years.
Roberto Hernandez was set to close out the game but left with two outs and a 2-2 count against Eric Chavez because of a strain and possible tear on his right side. He will be examined again Thursday. John Smoltz came in to get the last out.
“It just felt tight,” Hernandez said. “It felt like I got punched.”
Furcal led off the game with his career-high 10th homer of the season. After Lilly (3-5) walked Giles and struck out Gary Sheffield, he hit Jones with a pitch to bring up Lopez.
Lopez drove the first pitch over the center-field wall for his 19th homer.
Giles homered in the third off the left-field foul pole and Jones connected two batters later for his 17th homer of the year as the Braves took a 6-0 lead.
When Castilla homered in the fourth, Lilly watched in disbelief as the ball sailed over the left-field fence.
The five homers allowed by Lilly tied an Oakland record—Curt Young did it on July 7, 1988, against Detroit and Dale Telgheder on Sept. 21, 1996, against Seattle.
“Not only was I leaving the ball over the plate, but I was getting behind in the count more than I liked,” Lilly said. “This is probably one of the toughest games I’ve had in my career. I’ve never given up five home runs at any level, so it definitely leaves you a little bit bewildered.”
The Braves, who beat the A’s for the first time since sweeping the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1914 World Series, responded with their bats after staging a late rally Tuesday but losing 4-3 in 12 innings.
Lopez also regrouped after going 0-for-5 Tuesday.
“I’m back on track again,” he said of hitting homers. “What can I say? That’s all we’ve been hitting. It’s just a different day.”
Frank Menechino, starting in place of the slumping Mark Ellis at second base, hit a solo homer for the A’s in the third, his second of the year. Ramon Hernandez added a two-run shot in the fifth, Chavez doubled twice and singled and Eric Byrnes had two hits.
Lilly has lost five out of six decisions, with his only win coming May 13 at Detroit, which has the worst record in the majors. Lilly’s only hits allowed were the five homers, and he was knocked out after only four innings and 64 pitches.
Ramirez is undefeated in his last eight starts since losing to Florida on April 11. The left-hander was helped by inning-ending double plays in three of the first four innings. He allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Lopez’s last six hits were homers before he was credited with an RBI single in the fifth inning on an infield popup misplayed by first baseman Scott Hatteberg. He singled again in the eighth.
Lopez became annoyed when told he’s on pace to hit 49 homers.
“I don’t want to hear that,” he said. “I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Menechino added a two-run single in the sixth to make it 8-5. The A’s had four walks in the inning, but Ray King came in to strike out Hatteberg with the bases loaded to escape the jam.
Chavez hit his second double of the game in the seventh to drive home Erubiel Durazo from first.
Julio Franco hit an RBI single in the Braves’ two-run eighth.
Atlanta LF Chipper Jones was scratched from the starting lineup with a wrist injury about 40 minutes before the first pitch. Jones jammed his left wrist on a leadoff double in the ninth inning May 31 against the New York Mets and missed one game. Jones is hitting .306 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs. … Furcal hit his third leadoff homer of the year and eighth of his career. … Lilly had given up three homers in a game twice previously. … Texas’ Charlie Hough was the last pitcher to give up homers for all five hits he allowed, doing it in 1989. … Menechino left the game in the eighth with a cramp in hisright calf.