Gray lifts teammates after difficult day
A's ace goes the distance after latest jarring trade
LOS ANGELES -- A potentially demoralizing day for the A's didn't end that way, thanks to Sonny Gray.
Oakland's ace capped an emotionally fueled week of trades with a three-hit, 2-0 shutout of the Dodgers, alleviating a shaken A's clubhouse that lost Ben Zobrist in a trade with Kansas City earlier in the day.
Tyler Clippard went to the Mets on Monday, Scott Kazmir to Houston on Thursday.
"It can be a cloudy day," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You could see that when the Kazmir day transpired, and we've had two more since then, so to be able to go out there and give the team a good feeling after what was a rough day for everybody, you can't say you expect it out of him, but you get used to games like he pitched today."
"No matter who is out there, who is in the clubhouse, who's not, when the game starts, you have your 25 guys out there and you're just trying to win a baseball game," Gray said. "I don't think that's going to change for us. We're going to go out there and we're going to compete and battle and win as many games as we can."
It was Gray's fourth career shutout and second of the month. The right-hander struck out nine and walked only one, shutting down the Dodgers in the first of a two-game road series while lowering his ERA to an American League-leading 2.16.
He also picked up his first career hit, a chopper down the first-base line for a single in the eighth with a bat owned by Billy Butler, who said, "He told me to pick him out a winner."
"I'm glad I hit it on the barrel because my hands would've been ringing," Gray said. "I didn't have too much of a shot, just lucked into that one."
Gray originally planned to use a bat he shared with Kazmir, except Kazmir took it with him to Houston.
Josh Reddick, who finished with three hits, called Gray's knock "amazing."
"I was down in the video room, and I came sprinting out trying to get to the top step to get him to do something, but he didn't do anything," Reddick said. "He acted like he got 100 career hits in the show or something."
Once on the bases, "he said he was looking for the green light," Melvin said, smiling.
Gray was denied one, but he did get it for the ninth inning, finishing his latest gem at 110 pitches, throwing 81 of them for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of his 29 batters.
"That was the game plan going in, just to execute fastballs to both slides, and my slider was better than it has been," he said. "Just getting ahead was huge."