A’s get past Texas, Gray finishes off undefeated July

By Morris Phillips

The A’s constantly-changing cast kept to the desired script once again in Arlington, TX on Saturday against the Rangers.

Sonny Gray won his sixth consecutive decision and the A’s belted four home runs to beat Texas, 5-1 at Global Life Park. Despite having the best record in either league, the A’s remain just two games up on the Angels in the supremely competitive AL West.

Gray was at his fastball/changeup-throwing best holding the Rangers to a run over 6 2/3 innings. Of the 28 batters Gray faced, the final 13–all after Gray allowed an RBI single to J.P. Arencibia in the fourth–failed to hit the ball out of the infield. That finishing kick kept to Gray’s pattern in an exceptional stretch in which he’s compiled half of his league-leading 12 wins.

“His fastball moves all over the place. Sometimes he doesn’t even know what it does,” A’s manager Bob Melvin marveled when asked about his young ace.

Gray was especially tough with people aboard as he frustrated the Rangers despite allowing seven singles and four walks. Saturday’s effort finished off a torrid month of July in which Gray went 5-0 and allowed six runs in 29 innings pitched.

Josh Donaldson, J.J. Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes and John Jaso all homered in support of Gray, but none figured out Texas starter Nick Tepesch until the sixth inning. At that juncture, Jaso hit a two-run homer to give the A’s a lead and Cespedes followed with a solo shot. In the seventh, Donaldson connected and his home run traveled the furthest of the four at 415 feet.

Reddick’s bomb came off reliever Jeff Adcock, giving the A’s a 5-1 lead. It may have been the most satisfying of the three since it was Reddick’s first since two stints on the disabled list that robbed the A’s of their most gifted defensive outfielder.

Everyday performer Jed Lowrie sat out on Saturday and was replaced by Nick Punto. Catcher Jaso left the game in the eighth when he suffered a minor injury warming up Luke Gregerson. Washout acquisition Jim Johnson was released on Thursday, replaced by Evan Scribner. Coco Crisp has missed 23 games but batted leadoff on Saturday. Disabled infielder Alberto Callaspo is expected to come off the disabled list on Sunday and make his 77th starting assignment of the year.

And throughout all the moves and changes, the A’s continue to win, And in most recent 40 days, the Rangers seem to always manage to lose. On Saturday, the A’s won their 25th in their last 36 games, while the Rangers have dropped 28 of 34.

On Sunday, Scott Kazmir attempts to win his 12th of the season in a matchup with the Rangers’ Miles Mikolas at 4:05pm PST.

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