Baseball / Sports

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jason Hammel works in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, July 19, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Sonny Gray, A's cruise to 10-2 victory against Orioles

OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray continues to be the antidote for whatever ails the A's, pitching a two-hitter for 6 2/3 innings Sunday in leading Oakland to a 10-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Gray is now 7-1 when he starts after an A's loss this season and 11-3 overall. One of the two runs he allowed was unearned and he put just four men on base, a single, a double and two walks en route to his fifth consecutive win.

The 24-year-old right-hander didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, when he walked Chris Davis and Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hit a bullet to left-center that eluded a mad sprint toward the wall by A's center fielder Coco Crisp, going for an RBI double.

By that point the A's already had a 4-0 lead against Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman, and three-run innings in the fifth and sixth put the game away.

Gray's second hit came after a two-base throwing error by Oakland shortstop Jed Lowrie and led not only to Baltimore's second run but to A's manager Bob Melvin deciding Gray, the owner of three winning streaks of three or more games this season for the A's, was finished for the day after 106 pitches.

The victory, the 61st of the season for Oakland, kept the A's 1 1/2 games ahead of the Angels in the American League West. The A's, who might meet the 54-44 Orioles in the post-season, went 4-2 against the American League East leaders this season.

John Jaso, Josh Donaldson and Craig Gentry each drove in two runs for the A's, who reached double figures in runs for first time since June 17. The A's have reached 10 runs 14 times this season, not surprisingly winning all 14.

Jaso got the A's on the scoreboard in the first with a triple to score Crisp, who then came home himself on a Gausman wild pitch. Two innings later, Yoenis Cespedes scored on a sacrifice fly when Adam Jones lost track of the number of outs. Cespedes came home without drawing a throw, although it's unlikely Jones would have been able to throw him out.

Stephen Vogt, who had three hits and a walk Sunday, doubled home the first of three runs in the fifth and Gentry's bases-loaded hit in the sixth capped another three-run outburst.

The game ended with closer Sean Doolittle on the mound, not because the game was on the line but because he needed the work. The left-hander pitched two-thirds of an inning in the All-Star Game, and hadn't pitched since. With the A's day off Monday, Melvin didn't want to see his closer go a week without throwing.

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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