OAKLAND — Sonny Gray delivered yet another start that will attract the attention of contenders around the game and the Oakland A’s capped their homestand with a second win in as many days, handling the Chicago White Sox, 7-5, on Wednesday afternoon.
Gray, who figures to be the club’s most-sought after piece as the trade deadline approaches, produced six innings of two-run ball. The right-hander has now let in just four runs in his past three starts.
“He’s back to looking like he has in the past. A lot of it has to do with health,” said manager Bob Melvin, referring to Gray’s 2016 season when he bounced back and forth between the disabled list and the rotation.
“The velocity is back, the movement is back and now he’s back doing his thing like we’ve been expected him to do,” Melvin added. “So, health has obviously been key for him.”
Gray agreed with his manager’s assessment, but also credited his success to his ability to consistently induce ground balls.
“I just feel like I’m able to do what I want to do with the baseball right now,” Gray said. “And when I’m at my best, that’s kind of what I’m going to be doing.”
The only damage on a breezy getaway-day afternoon came in the he fifth when Todd Frazier launched a 424-foot, two-run blast. In his six frames, Gray allowed three hits and issued a pair of walks, while ringing up five strikeouts.
Gray, a noted self-critic, insisted he could have been better after his outing.
“I felt okay. I thought my stuff was just okay,” Gray said. “A lot of fastballs again. It’s nice when you get a six-run lead early in the game, you’re going to try and attack the guys as much as possible.”
The A’s chased White Sox’s starter Mike Pelfrey with one out in the fourth. Jaycob Brugman delivered the knockout punch, booming a solo home run after Pelfrey had needed 90 pitches just to navigate the opening three frames.
Jed Lowrie, who went 3-for-4, poured on two more runs to make it 6-0, grounding a two-run single up the middle. The club tacked on a final run in the eighth when Bruce Maxwell raced home on a wild pitch.
Frazier briefly put a scare into the A’s in the ninth, hammering a three-run shot — his second homer of the day — beyond the left field wall with two outs in the inning. Sean Doolittle responded with a strikeout to end the game.
Run, Rajai, Run
Rajai Davis ran on the White Sox at will in the matinee win.
The veteran center field stole four bags — matching a career high — swiping second and third in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively.
“When Raj gets on, he’s one of the premier guys in the league and that’s what he can do,” Melvin said.
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) July 5, 2017
The team went for six steals overall, as Franklin Barreto and Brugman also got in on the action.
Semien to re-join club in Seattle
Before the win, Melvin said shortstop Marcus Semien (wrist) will return to the club during the upcoming series with the Seattle Mariners, which begins Thursday night at Safeco Field.
Phegley heads to paternity list, Lavarnway summoned from AAA
The A’s placed Josh Phegley on the paternity list and selected Ryan Lavarnway from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds before Wednesday’s win. The 29-year-old, who was hitting .274 in the minors, has played parts of five major league seasons.
A’s hire COO
The team has hired Chris Giles as Chief Operating Officer and tasked him with overseeing organization-wide strategy and the daily operations for the team’s revenue-generating functions, including sales, marketing, partnerships, PR and community engagement.
“Chris was instrumental in opening Levi’s Stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, including overseeing both team and stadium revenue streams,” said A’s President Kaval. “His leadership and experience in that project will be a tremendous asset to our team.”
Giles previously worked as the San Francisco 49ers’ Vice President of Sales and Strategy through the 2015 season.
Núñez to represent Nashville in home run derby
A’s prospect/Pacific Coast League home run leader Renato Núñez will participate in the Triple-A Home Run Derby, which is scheduled for Monday.
The 23-year-old who has spent the majority of the season between the corner infield spots and left field, has 22 home runs in 78 games for the Sounds.Chicago White SoxJed LowrieJosh Phegleymike pelfreyMLBOakland AthleticsRajai Davisryan lavarnwaytags: sonny gray