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A's secure finale behind Gray, 11-hit attack

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's knocked around Rays rookie starter Jacob Faria in a four-run fifth inning and got another quality start from Sonny Gray to avoid a sweep with a 7-2 win Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum.

With two on and one out in the fifth, Rajai Davis hit an opposite-field ground-rule double and moved to third on a Matt Joyce sacrifice fly. Davis then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with Marcus Semien at the plate, who singled and scored on a Yonder Alonso single.

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OAKLAND -- The A's knocked around Rays rookie starter Jacob Faria in a four-run fifth inning and got another quality start from Sonny Gray to avoid a sweep with a 7-2 win Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum.

With two on and one out in the fifth, Rajai Davis hit an opposite-field ground-rule double and moved to third on a Matt Joyce sacrifice fly. Davis then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with Marcus Semien at the plate, who singled and scored on a Yonder Alonso single.

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Video: TB@OAK: Alonso extends lead with an RBI single

That was all for Faria, whose streak of seven straight quality starts to open his Major League career ended Wednesday with four runs allowed in five innings. He gave up six hits and four walks while striking out four and acknowledged that he had command issues throughout the afternoon.

"I think it was everything leading up to [the fifth inning]. How many hitters did I fall behind 1-0, 2-0 and have to work my way back? Eventually, it's going to catch up to anybody that does that," Faria said. "I don't think it was just the fifth, but that's when it all finally imploded. But it was all building up leading up to that point."

Gray threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs to pick up his fifth straight quality start. Gray allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out six.

Video: TB@OAK: Gray goes 6 1/3 vs. Rays to earn the win

"I feel like I'm throwing the ball well right now," Gray said. "Getting a couple of wins along the way, it feels good to do that. I feel good. That's something hopefully I can continue moving forward."

The A's added one run in the sixth on Jaycob Brugman's bunt single, one in the seventh on a Bruce Maxwell groundout and one in the eighth on a solo homer from Joyce, his first-career homer against his former team.

Video: TB@OAK: Joyce belts a solo homer to right field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Faria loses control: Faria struggled with command throughout Wednesday's game, but it finally bit him in the fifth. In addition to a leadoff walk, Faria threw two wild pitches with two outs in the inning, the first one allowing Davis to score from third. Semien advanced to second on the next one, allowing him to score on Alonso's single. Faria said it was his changeup that he had problems controlling.

Video: TB@OAK: Davis crosses the dish on a wild pitch

"It's happened a few times the past few games where I'll have an inning where it's not there, and then an inning where it is there," Faria said. "Today, it was just like, one pitch, it would be there, the next pitch, it's not there. Now it's time to reset and work on it in my next bullpen and get everything ironed out."

Coulombe takes two: After Gray was pulled with one out and one on in the seventh, left-handed reliever Daniel Coulombe gave up a single to Corey Dickerson to bring Evan Longoria up as the potential tying run. But Coulombe got Longoria to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Video: TB@OAK: Coulombe induces DP to escape a jam in 7th

QUOTABLE
"When you haven't seen a guy you need to see him a couple times around, kind of see what his ball's doing. Our at-bats definitely got better around the fifth inning on." -- Oakland manager Bob Melvin, on his ballclub's patience against Faria

"We couldn't quite finish off today, but the objective is to win series. We won another series, which is very important right now." -- Manager Kevin Cash, on the Rays' 4-2 West Coast road trip

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Of Gray's 66 strikes on the afternoon, the Rays swung and missed at 19 of them, tied for the second-most swinging strikes Gray has gotten in a game in his career. The most he's had was 22 against the Rays on June 10 this year.

Gray also got nine swinging strikes with his four-seam fastball, the most he's ever had in a single game in his career with the pitch.

SOUZA LEAVES EARLY
Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. left the game in the first inning with a left hip strain. He injured the hip when he jammed it into second base as he was caught stealing. The Rays will re-evaluate Souza after returning to Florida on Wednesday.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Rays successfully challenged that Brad Miller beat Jed Lowrie's throw to first base in the second inning, overturning the initial call that Miller was out.

Video: TB@OAK: Miller awarded single after Rays challenge

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: After an off-day Thursday, right-hander Alex Cobb (6-6, 3.59 ERA) will take the mound at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday for the first of a three-game series against the Rangers. Cobb has gone 7 2/3 innings in each of the last two starts he's made.

Athletics: The A's have an off-day Thursday before beginning an Interleague series in New York against the Mets on Friday at 4:10 p.m. PT. Right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83) gets the call in the series opener. The rookie pitcher walked four in six innings during his most recent start.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the A's on Wednesday.