8:00 PM ET, April 28, 2014
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sonny Gray came off the mound and into the Oakland dugout after the eighth inning purposely trying to avoid contact with manager Bob Melvin.
Gray, clearly the best pitcher on this night in a matchup against Rangers ace Yu Darvish, wanted to finish what he started.
"I normally talk to him, share a laugh, make something up," Gray said. "I put my head down and he goes, `How are you feeling?' I just yelled `Great!" and kept walking. ... Yeah, I wanted to go back out there."
The right-hander did pitch the ninth, wrapping up a three-hitter for his first career complete game as the Athletics beat Texas 4-0 Monday night in Darvish's shortest outing in the major leagues.
Gray (4-1) allowed only three singles while striking out six. He threw 73 of 108 pitches for strikes in his 16th career start.
"I felt like telling him he better get it done under 110 [pitches], but that's probably the wrong thing to tell a guy when he goes out for the ninth," Melvin said with a smile. "Usually he looks at me and has a conversation with me when he's coming in and he didn't even look at me after the eighth."
Texas got only one runner to third base against the 24-year-old Gray, who threw two wild pitches in the sixth after Robinson Chirinos singled.
Darvish (1-1) was gone after 3⅓ innings, pulled after walking No. 9 batter Eric Sogard for the second time. Those were the only two walks for the right-hander, who allowed four runs and six hits while throwing 83 pitches (45 strikes). Darvish is winless in his past nine home starts.
"The first few innings I thought he mixed [pitches] pretty good," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I thought he tried to throw everything at them. ... They found a way to put balls in play. They found a way to score runs."
Oakland and Texas entered tied for the AL West lead and the league's best record at 15-10. The Rangers, shut out for the first time this season, had swept a three-game series in Oakland last week.
Gray walked Rangers leadoff hitter Michael Choice, but got out of the first with a fielder's choice grounder and a 4-5-3 double play with three Oakland infielders shifted to the right side against Prince Fielder.
"The first couple of hitters it looked like what he usually does in the first from time to time," Melvin said. "After that it was as well of a pitched game as I've seen in a while."
Choice grounded into an inning-ending double play in the third after the bottom two batters reached base.
Darvish made his 66th start for Texas since signing from Japan before the 2012 season. His shortest previous MLB outing had been four innings at Seattle his rookie season, though he went only 1⅓ innings in a Japan start in 2006.
Darvish struck out four, but three of those came in the first five batters of the game.
The A's are 7-1 in their nine games against Darvish, who last week got a no-decision in Oakland after going six innings and leaving a 3-3 tie before Texas won 4-3.
Moss was thrown out retreating to first on a pitch that got away from catcher Chirinos, though the runner was originally ruled safe before Rangers manager Washington challenged and got the play overturned by replay. When Moss slid back in, his foot was against first baseman Fielder's foot -- and not the base -- while being tagged.
Washington lost a challenge in the eighth when he thought Reddick was out on a pickoff attempt diving back to first with Barton batting. Reddick was called safe, and replay confirmed the call before Barton hit a deep fly ball.
Center fielder Leonys Martin made a leaping catch on the warning track and threw to first base. Reddick was initially called safe by crew chief Jeff Nelson, who then initiated a replay and changed his call for an inning-ending double play.
"That's a first, two replays with the same guy sliding into the same base," Melvin said. "That's part of the game now."
Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo was out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game because of a left ankle sprain, but flew out as a pinch hitter in the ninth. ... A's OF Yoenis Cespedes missed his fourth game in a row (strained left hamstring). Manager Bob Melvin said it's 50-50 he'll be back in the starting lineup Tuesday. ... Game 2 features a standout matchup of left-handers. Oakland's Scott Kazmir (3-0, 1.62 ERA) pitches against Martin Perez (4-0, 1.42), who has thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings his past three starts. Perez has two consecutive three-hit shutouts, the last coming Wednesday in Oakland.
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Eric Sogard #28 of the Oakland Athletics warms up before the start of the game against...(Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|Texas leads 10-9 (as of Mon 4/28)|
|Mon 4/21||TEX 4, @OAK 3||Recap|
|Tue 4/22||TEX 5, @OAK 4||Recap|
|Wed 4/23||TEX 3, @OAK 0||Recap|
|» Mon 4/28||OAK 4, @TEX 0||Box Score|
|Tue 4/29||OAK 9, @TEX 3||Recap|
|Wed 4/30||OAK 12, @TEX 1||Recap|
|Mon 6/16||TEX 14, @OAK 8||Recap|
|Tue 6/17||@OAK 10, TEX 6||Recap|
|Wed 6/18||@OAK 4, TEX 2||Recap|
|Fri 7/25||@TEX 4, OAK 1||Recap|
|Sat 7/26||OAK 5, @TEX 1||Recap|
|Sun 7/27||OAK 9, @TEX 3||Recap|
|Tue 9/16||TEX 6, @OAK 3||Recap|
|Wed 9/17||TEX 6, @OAK 1||Recap|
|Thu 9/18||TEX 7, @OAK 2||Recap|
|Thu 9/25||@TEX 2, OAK 1||Recap|
|Fri 9/26||OAK 6, @TEX 2||Recap|
|Sat 9/27||@TEX 5, OAK 4||Recap|
|Sun 9/28||OAK 4, @TEX 0||Recap|
|Complete Schedule: Athletics | Rangers|
|3rd||J Donaldson singled to left, E Sogard and C Crisp scored, J Lowrie to second.||2||0|
|4th||J Reddick tripled to deep right, J Jaso scored.||3||0|
|4th||D Barton hit sacrifice fly to left, J Reddick scored.||4||0|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, TX|
|Attendance||28,548 (59.2% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||84 degrees, clear|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Marcus Pattillo, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Scott Barry|
Yu Darvish didn't finish the 4th inning on Monday (3 1/3 IP), the shortest start of his career. It's another rough start against the Athletics, which is nothing new for him.[+]
Yu Darvish MLB Career - By Opponent
Sonny Gray lowered his career ERA to 2.31. That rates best in the American League and 4th-best in MLB since the date of his major-league debut (July 10, 2013). The pitcher who entered the day with the best ERA in the AL was Gray's mound opponent on Monday, Yu Darvish.[+]
Sonny Gray has thrown his curveball 27 percent of the time in his career, the seventh-highest percentage among pitchers with at least 10 starts since Gray was called up. Since the start of 2010, Adrian Beltre has a .325 average in 166 at-bats ending with a curveball from a righty, the third-highest average among all players with 100 such plate appearances.
ESPN Stats & Information