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Texas at Oakland

W: S. Gray (7-3) L: N. Tepesch (2-3) S: S. Doolittle (9)
HR: TEX - None   OAK - None

Gray, A's beat Texas, now have best record in MLB

CBSSports.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Sonny Gray spent the past few days with Oakland pitching coach Curt Young, making subtle adjustments to his delivery.

Gray won't reveal exactly what he and Young worked on. Suffice to say, the Athletics' young staff ace is pleased with the results.

Brandon Moss hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the fifth inning, and Gray bounced back from two sub-par outings to lead Oakland over the Texas Rangers 4-2 Wednesday, giving the Athletics (44-28) the best record in the majors.

"Overall it was a pretty good outing," said Gray, who had won just two of eight starts before going seven innings against Texas and striking out seven.

"I don't think there really is a difference other than I was able to make pitches," he said. "That's probably it. People sometimes forget that baseball is a pretty hard game and there's going to be some rough patches that you're going to go through."

Gray (7-3) bounced back nicely from his recent rough stretch. The right-hander needed only 31 pitches to get through the first three innings, then struck out Brad Snyder on a high 95 mph fastball to end the fourth with runners at second and third.

Gray also got help from left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who made a leaping catch at the warning track to rob Adrian Beltre of extra bases two batters before Snyder struck out.

His lone mistake came in the fifth when Texas loaded the bases with two outs. Gray walked two and gave up an infield single before Shin-Soo Choo's two-run single made it 2-2.

"It's just balance for him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He knows his delivery (and) his mechanics pretty well, and Curt's terrific at pointing out subtle things. There are a couple things he's been working on."

Cespedes and Josh Donaldson each had two hits for the A's. Oakland has won four of five and is a season-high 16 games over .500.

Their record is one game better than cross-bay rival San Francisco.

"Anytime in the season that you can say you have the best record in baseball, it's satisfying," Melvin said. "But there's a lot of baseball yet to be played. At least for the time being it feels good."

Luke Gregerson pitched the eighth, and Sean Doolittle worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Nick Tepesch (2-3) went five innings for Texas.

Choo drove in both runs for the Rangers.

"We have to get more than five innings out of our starting pitching and we have to have a shutdown inning after we score runs," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Somehow that (Oakland) lineup is always functioning. Somebody is always having a good day."

Melvin shuffled his lineup and didn't start center fielder Coco Crisp and second baseman Eric Sogard.

Oakland's offense didn't miss a beat.

John Jaso replaced Crisp in the leadoff spot and knocked in the A's first run with a double in the third. Craig Gentry, who filled in at center field, added two hits and scored a run. Second baseman Alberto Callaspo also had two hits.

That was enough for Gray, who gave up two runs and six hits. He improved to 8-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 13 career starts against teams from within the A's division.

"He was keeping us off balance," said outfielder Alex Rios, who doubled off Gray in the fourth. "He managed his slider well. and his fastball had good velocity. He was locating it well."

Cespedes scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. He singled off Tepesch and scored on Moss' double to right, barely beating the throw home with a headfirst slide.

After Donaldson singled Moss to third, Stephen Vogt hit a short sacrifice fly to left to put Oakland up 4-2.

Tepesch remained winless since May 26. He allowed nine hits over five innings with two walks and one strikeout.


Doolittle hasn't allowed a run in 22 1/3 innings, the longest active streak in the AL. ... Crisp was given a normal day off. ... Sogard pinch-ran after Callaspo singled in the ninth. ... Rangers 3B Luis Sardinas singled in the third to extend his career-best hitting streak to seven games. ... Texas LHP Joe Saunders (0-2), who will pitch the opener against the Angels on Friday, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four starts since coming off the DL. ... Oakland LHP Scott Kazmir (8-2), who opens the series against Boston on Thursday, has a 0.95 ERA over his previous four starts.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Sonny Gray, a winner in just two of his previous eight starts, goes seven innings while striking out seven. (USATSI)
Sonny Gray, a winner in just two of his previous eight starts, goes seven innings while striking out seven. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

S. Choo
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

S. Gray
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 2
K 7

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Texas Rangers
Leonys Martin, CF3100111 .264
Elvis Andrus, SS4010020 .268
Shin-Soo Choo, LF4022000 .253
Adrian Beltre, DH4000003 .308
Alex Rios, RF4010000 .319
Brad Snyder, 1B3000022 .158
   a-Donnie Murphy, PH1000000 .210
Robinson Chirinos, C4010010 .248
Rougned Odor, 2B3100121 .302
Luis Sardinas, 3B3010010 .304
Nick Tepesch, P0000000 .000
   Scott Baker, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Snyder in the 9th
2B - Alex Rios (15, Gray)
RBI - Shin-Soo Choo 2 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Shin-Soo Choo 2 (8)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Odor-Andrus-Snyder, Odor-Andrus-Snyder-Andrus-Snyder
Texas Rangers
Nick Tepesch (L,2-3) 5944210 4.38
Scott Baker 3200110 6.68
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Tepesch 99-55, Scott Baker 42-30
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Tepesch 5-9, Scott Baker 3-3
Batters Faced - Nick Tepesch 26, Scott Baker 10
Oakland Athletics
John Jaso, C4111002 .271
   Kyle Blanks, 1B0000000 .294
Jed Lowrie, SS4000001 .222
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4120001 .262
Brandon Moss, 1B-RF2111201 .263
Josh Donaldson, 3B4021001 .254
Stephen Vogt, RF-C3001023 .333
Derek Norris, DH3010100 .313
Alberto Callaspo, 2B4020003 .245
   Eric Sogard, PR-2B0000000 .199
Craig Gentry, CF4120002 .285
Sonny Gray, P0000000 .000
   Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
   Sean Doolittle, P0000000 .000
2B - John Jaso (10, Tepesch), Yoenis Cespedes (19, Tepesch), Brandon Moss (12, Tepesch)
SF - Stephen Vogt (1)
RBI - John Jaso (22), Brandon Moss (55), Josh Donaldson (52), Stephen Vogt (8)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Donaldson (16)
Team LOB - 8
E - Yoenis Cespedes (2, Misplayed grounder)
Oakland Athletics
Sonny Gray (W,7-3) 7622270 2.91
Luke Gregerson (H,10) 1000000 1.91
Sean Doolittle (S,9) 1000020 2.12
Pitches-Strikes - Sonny Gray 100-67, Luke Gregerson 6-4, Sean Doolittle 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sonny Gray 8-6, Luke Gregerson 2-1
Batters Faced - Sonny Gray 29, Luke Gregerson 3, Sean Doolittle 3
Game Information
Attendance - 23175
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Chris Segal, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Andy Fletcher