ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jon Gray allowed only a fourth-inning infield single in seven shutout innings, Leody Taveras and Brad Miller hit two-run singles during a five-run first, and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Gray (6-4) struck out nine and walked none, winning for the fifth time in his last six starts. He retired Oakland’s first nine batters, striking out five, before Vimael Machin lined an 0-1 changeup that shortstop Marcus Semien got a glove on to his left but couldn’t field. Gray threw 95 pitches, seven short of his season high.
“It was definitely a hit,” Gray said. “It went right over my head. If I just stuck my hand up, I think I would have caught it.”
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he was somewhat thankful the no-hit bid ended relatively early, not forcing a decision later about Gray’s pitch count.
“I didn’t want him to get up in the 130s,” Woodward said. “Even that (the scoring of a hit) was kind of debatable. I still think it was a hit.”
Texas took a 5-0 lead into the ninth but Garrett Richards was called upon for a one-out save, his first of the season, after Jose Leclerc gave up solo homers to Skye Bolt and Ramon Laureano and was pulled with runners on second and third.
The Rangers’ Corey Seager had an RBI single in the first against Paul Blackburn (6-5) but failed to homer, ending his streak of five consecutive games with a longball — the longest in the majors this season.
Blackburn allowed all five runs in the first on three singles and three walks. He permitted only one more baserunner through six innings, a two-out walk to Semien in the fifth. Texas added only one more hit against the Athletics’ bullpen.
It was Blackburn’s first start since being named as Oakland’s lone representative to Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
“He just couldn’t get comfortable with the baseball,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “Unfortunately, that happens in the first inning.”
Gray signed as a free agent last December for four years and $56 million after spending his first seven seasons in the majors with Colorado. The 30-year-old has one career complete game, an 8-0 shutout of San Diego on Sept. 17, 2016.
Gray became the second Rangers starter to go at least seven innings allowing one or no hits and no walks with at least nine strikeouts. Yu Darvish was one out from a perfect game against Houston on April 2, 2013, having fanned 14, when Marwin Gonzalez hit a first-pitch single between Darvish’s legs up the middle.
Texas recalled RHPs A.J. Alexy and Josh Sborz from Triple-A Round Rock and optioned LHP Kolby Allard to Round Rock.
Semien stole two bases to increase his season total to a career-high 16. ... Rangers OF Adolis Garcia got the night off for rest. The club leader with 51 RBI is 0-for-18 with nine strikeouts in his last 10 games.
A’s: RHP Frankie Montas (shoulder inflammation) might start this weekend after missing one start, but Kotsay said Montas was a little sore after throwing a Wednesday bullpen and remains day-to-day.
Rangers: RHP Joe Barlow (index finger blister), the club leader with 13 saves, was placed on the 15-day injured list. ... C Jonah Heim was in the lineup after missing Tuesday night’s game with an illness. ... RHP Jonathan Hernandez (elbow surgery) had his rehab assignment extended and was transferred from Round Rock to Double-A Frisco.
Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin (3-7, 3.32 ERA) will start Friday night to begin a three-game series at Houston. Irvin is 1-6 in his last 11 starts.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (7-2, 2.72) will open a four-game home series Thursday night against Seattle LHP Marco Gonzales (5-9, 3.24).