- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Freddie Freeman said before the game the slumping Braves needed an immediate turnaround.

The power-hitting first baseman then backed up his challenge at the plate.

Freeman hit a three-run homer, one of four by Atlanta, and the Braves beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Friday night in the opening game of the interleague series.

Justin Upton and Evan Gattis hit homers off Jason Hammel (1-5) in the second inning. Rookie Phil Gosselin hit a two-run homer, the first of his career, off Jesse Chavez in the sixth.

The Braves had not scored more than four runs in any of their past six games. They entered the game having lost 12 of 15.

Atlanta is six games behind first-place Washington in the NL East.

“Everyone wants to say we can’t panic, but we’ve got to go,” Freeman said before the game. “… The time is now.”

After the game, Freeman applauded Atlanta’s power surge.

“That was a good night,” Freeman said, noting Oakland brought the majors’ best record to Atlanta.

“We always play those teams the hardest, and it was no different tonight,” Freeman said.

Alex Wood (9-9) allowed two runs in six innings - a two-run homer by Nate Freiman in the fourth.

The A’s have lost three straight and five of six.

“We’re just going through a tough time right now,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “You start to press a little bit offensively and it can be contagious as a group. You start swinging at some pitches out of the zone. We’re pretty good about looking for our pitch and waiting for it. We haven’t been as good here recently.”

Wood allowed four hits in six innings. Relievers David Carpenter, Jordan Walden and James Russell combined for three perfect innings.

Hammel allowed five runs and six hits, including three homers, in three innings. He was pulled after walking B.J. Upton to open the fourth.

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