Thursday, April 7, 2016

Gray outduels Rodon for A's first win

Sonny Gray outdueled Carlos Rodon, firing seven innings of one-run ball with just three hits allowed in his season debut. Mark Canha homered in support of the ace as the A's pulled out a 2-1 victory over the White Sox at the Coliseum on Wednesday for their first win of the season.
Gray, who was scratched from his Opening Day start on Monday because of the flu, worked around four walks and struck out five, the lone run off the right-hander coming in the third inning when Austin Jackson doubled and later scored on Jimmy Rollins' sacrifice fly.
The left-handed Rodon also made it through seven innings, yielding seven hits -- including a single to Billy Burns on the first pitch of the game. Khris Davis followed with his own base hit, and Jed Lowrie got the A's on the board with a sacrifice fly, giving him five RBIs in this four-game series, which concludes at 12:35 p.m. PT on Thursday and will be available free on MLB.TV.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Platoon power: A's manager Bob Melvin has promised to find at-bats for Canha against left-handers, and on Wednesday that meant a rare start in right field, just the second of Canha's career. The young slugger made good on the decision by coming up with Oakland's first home run of the season, a solo shot to right field off Rodon with one out in the second on the first pitch. Canha hit 16 home runs as a rookie last year.
Be aggressive: The White Sox scored a run in the third on Rollins' sacrifice fly, but it was more a tribute to good fundamental baseball. Jackson opened with a double, moved to third on Adam Eaton's grounder to second and got the go-ahead from third-base coach Joe McEwing on Rollins' short fly to Davis in left. Davis' throw was well off the mark.
Axford delivers: The A's found themselves on the wrong end of a challenge in the eighth inning when White Sox leadoff man Eaton was confirmed safe at first base on an infield single, but right-hander John Axford managed to wipe him off the bags anyway, by getting Rollins to ground into a critical double play that capped an eight-pitch battle.
Rodon settles in: Both of the runs allowed by Rodon came in the first two innings, including Canha's opposite-field homer in the second. But the southpaw settled in, striking out six and walking one.
WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal as a free agent, Mat Latos provides the right-handed relief among a quartet of southpaws in the White Sox rotation for the finale of this four-game set, which begins at 2:35 p.m. CT on Thursday and is available free on MLB.TV.
A's: Right-hander Kendall Graveman makes his season debut Thursday, and he'll be looking for his first win since July 4. Graveman lost each of his final five decisions last year before succumbing to an oblique strain that prematurely ended his season. The series finale is available live for free on MLB.TV. at 12:35 p.m. PT.

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