Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rua spoils Gray's no-hitter, but Rangers fall

A's right-hander Sonny Gray christened the 2015 regular season in spectacular fashion, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning and allowing the Rangers just one hit in eight innings in front of a sold-out crowd at the Coliseum on Monday evening to orchestrate an 8-0 victory -- snapping the A's 10-game Opening Day losing streak.
"That was a big monkey we needed to get off our back," said A's manager Bob Melvin, "and to do it in the fashion we did tonight was terrific. It's really nice to get that win."
The Rangers, who watched starter Yovani Gallardo surrender four runs on six hits in four innings, reached base just four times against the 25-year-old Gray, who was backed by superb defense all night. It was left fielder Ryan Rua who broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the eighth.
"After the fourth, I knew they didn't have any hits," said Gray. "Then I just took it one inning at a time. There in the eighth, I didn't feel I made that bad a pitch. I was maybe a little tired, left a few pitches up, but the hit, he put a great swing on it and hit the ball into right field. But I wouldn't take that pitch back. He just put a good swing on it, a fastball away."
Gray walked one and struck out three, finishing at 98 pitches.
"He was throwing all his pitches," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "He was commanding his fastball and throwing his pitches for strikes. He pitched a great game."
The A's offense, meanwhile, provided plenty of pop, with home runs from Ben Zobrist -- a two-run home run in the first -- and Stephen Vogt, who extended the A's lead in the seventh with a three-run home run off right-hander Phil Klein.
Martin misses great catch: The Rangers are hoping Leonys Martin can anchor the outfield defense in center field, but he just missed a great catch in the first inning. He raced to the wall in deep center and made a leaping try atSam Fuld's line drive, but the ball barely eluded him and went for a triple. The next batter, Zobrist, hit a two-run home run.
First impressions: Even in a new uniform, Zobrist continued a career trend, homering for the third time in seven Opening Day starts. The A's prized offseason addition, expected to be a mainstay in the third hole of the lineup this season, also doubled in the third in his green-and-gold debut. NewbieMarcus Semien also contributed with an RBI single in the fourth, and Billy Butler notched a run-scoring double in the eighth for his first hit as an Athletic.
Gallardo can't keep it close: Gallardo wasn't sharp in his first game for the Rangers. He lasted just four-plus innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five. Four of the six hits went for extra bases, and the one walk -- to Ike Davis leading off the fourth inning -- set up a two-run rally.
Defensive doings: Gray's defense was rock solid. The A's new-look infield made several highlight-worthy plays behind him, with third baseman Brett Lawrie and shortstop Semien showcasing excellent range from the left side all night, and Davis scooping up several balls at first base. Second baseman Eric Sogard perhaps robbed a hit from Beltre in the seventh, when he snagged a bullet of a grounder and flipped it to first in time for the second out of the inning.
"All the way around, all of them," said Melvin. "Not only was it plays, but a lot of range involved, too. They got to a lot of balls."
"Whether you lose 10-0 or 1-0, losing is losing. I don't think [a no-hitter] makes it much worse. Losing is losing." -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo
Zobrist's homer in the first inning snapped Oakland's 25-inning scoreless streak on Opening Day. The A's were playing on a different continent the last time they pushed across a run on the first day of the season: Kurt Suzukinotched an RBI double off Seattle's Felix Hernandez in the fourth inning of the 2012 Opening Day matchup in Tokyo.
The Athletics won their first replay challenge of the season in the fifth inning.Anthony Bass had just taken over for Gallardo, with Fuld on first base. Zobrist lined out, then Butler hit a ground ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who threw off target to second baseman Rougned Odor. The throw pulled Odor off the bag; he got back in time to beat Fuld to the base, but he dropped the ball as he did so. Second-base umpire Jim Wolf missed that while watching to see who won the race to the bag and called Fuld out. The Athletics challenged, and the call was overturned after a review.
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis will make his first start of the season, against the Athletics, at 9:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Lewis went 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA in two starts against the Athletics last season and 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 22 career games. He has a 2.88 career ERA in Oakland.
Athletics: Right-hander Jesse Hahn makes his first start for the A's after being acquired from the Padres in the offseason when he faces the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Hahn has never faced the Rangers -- or any of their hitters -- in a Major League game.

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