Thursday, June 19, 2014
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A's Gray bounces back, beats Rangers

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[June 19, 2014]  OAKLAND, Calif. -- Sonny Gray is in just his second major league season, but he already knows the importance of having a short memory.

The Oakland right-hander put his first career two-game losing streak behind him Wednesday and pitched his best game in nearly a month, lifting the A's to a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at the O.co Coliseum.

Gray (7-3) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. In his previous four starts, Gray went 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

"When I first came up, (I talked) to some of the older guys that were here," Gray said. "I think people sometimes forget baseball's a pretty hard game and there's going to be some rough patches that you're going to go through.

"Being able to know how good you are and know what you're able to do and stay from game to game. You have a really good game, don't sit on it and pat yourself on the back. If you have a tough one, don't dwell on that. Just continue to move on and look to the next start."

The A's (44-28) moved a season-high 16 games over .500, and they own the best record in the major leagues. They have their best record after 72 games since the 1990 club was 46-26. Oakland beat the Rangers for the second straight time and took two of three to win the series.
 


"At any point in the season when you can say you have the best record in baseball, it's satisfying, but there's a lot of baseball that's yet to be played," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You try to take that confidence and where you are right now and apply it to games tomorrow and the next day and the next day."

Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch (2-3) gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings, walking two and striking out one. He went 2-0 in his first three starts after being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on May 14 but has gone 0-3 in his past four starts.

Tepesch, who blanked the Seattle Mariners for 6 1/3 innings Friday in his previous start but got a no-decision, left Wednesday's game after throwing 99 pitches with the Rangers trailing 4-2.

"They had a lot of deep counts and saw a lot of pitches," Tepesch said. "That's to their advantage. They are a patient club and have a plan at the plate. I'm just trying to stick to the game plan. If I make good pitches, we can turn them into outs."

A's right-hander Luke Gregerson threw a perfect eighth inning and closer Sean Doolittle a perfect ninth for his ninth save. Doolittle extended his streak of scoreless innings to 22 1/3, an ongoing career high and the longest active streak in the American League.

Third baseman Josh Donaldson, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, center fielder Craig Gentry and second baseman Alberto Callaspo each had two of Oakland's 11 hits. Catcher John Jaso and first baseman Brandon Moss hit RBI doubles.

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Gray struggled in the early innings, but he retired eight of the first nine Rangers he faced and blanked them for the first four innings.

"He's a pretty driven kid," Melvin said. "I don't think he worries too much about thinking about, 'I need to bounce back.' He's just preparing for each outing. He has high expectations for himself and expects to go out there and do well."

The A's struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Gentry, a former Ranger, led off with an infield single, and Jaso drove him in with a double to left-center field. Jaso scored on Donaldson's single to center with two outs.

Texas pulled even in the top of the fifth when left fielder Shin-Soo Choo lined a bases-loaded single to left with two outs off Gray, driving in second baseman Rougned Odor and center fielder Leonys Martin.

Oakland answered immediately in the bottom of the fifth, scoring twice off Tepesch to take a 4-2 lead. Cespedes lined a one-out single to center and scored on Moss' double down the right field line. After Donaldson singled Moss to third, right fielder Stephen Vogt brought him home with a sacrifice fly.

"They hurt you from every part of the batting order, top, middle and bottom," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the A's. "Somehow that lineup is always functioning. Somebody is always having a good day. That's what makes them successful."

NOTES: Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland will have season-ending reconstructive surgery on his left ankle Monday at Charlotte, N.C., Texas GM Jon Daniels said before Wednesday's game. Daniels said Moreland is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for spring training. ... Oakland CF Coco Crisp did not play Wednesday. He slammed into the wall in the seventh inning Tuesday night trying to make a catch, then made a diving catch in the eighth. He has battled a sore neck since colliding with the wall May 7 in a game against the Seattle Mariners. "He's a little beat up again," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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