ARLINGTON, Texas — Sonny Gray gave up a run early, then held on until the A’s offense muscled up in the sixth and seventh innings for a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers, giving Gray his fifth win of the month of July in as many starts.
Gray became the first A’s pitcher to win five games in a calendar month since Bartolo Colon did it last June.
Overall Gray has won six consecutive decisions and is 12-3 for the season, moving into a four-way tie for the American League lead in wins.
July has been the best single month of the year-plus that Gray has spent in the big leagues with Oakland.
His five wins is accompanied by a 1.02 ERA, which is the best ERA for an A’s pitcher throwing more than 30 innings since Cory Lidle’s 0.20 in August of 2002.
Over the course of Gray’s winning streak, which dates back to June 18, he has made seven starts, getting six wins and one no-decision with an ERA of 2.10.
The win moved the A’s, owners of the best record in the Major Leagues, to 64-39, as Friday became the 29th time Oakland pitching had held opponents to one or zero runs.
The A’s offense didn’t look like much for the first five innings against Rangers’ starter Nick Tepesch, but that turned around beginning with a one-out double from Eric Sogard in the sixth.
Sogard moved to third on an infield out, then came home when John Jaso lined a two-run homer into the right field seats.
That homer seemed to unleash some pent-up Oakland offense, and over the course of just six batters the A’s would go deep four times.
Yoenis Cespedes followed Jaso with a solo shot to finish up the scoring in a three-run sixth, then Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick, the first and third batters in the seventh, also went deep.
The last two homers were against reliever Nate Adcock, brought into the game after Tepesch, who’d pitched well and had a low pitch count, left the game because of a knee injury.
Jaso didn’t remain in the game to see the A’s bring home a winner. He warmed up reliever Luke Gregerson to start the bottom of the eighth, but signaled to the bench.
The medical crew and manager Bob Melvin came out to check on him, and when they did, he was lifted from the game.
Derek Norris came out of the A’s bullpen to catch the last two innings.
Oakland’s starter on Sunday, Scott Kazmir, ranks second in the AL with a 2.32 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of his four previous starts.
A’s infielder Alberto Callaspo (hamstring) is scheduled to be activated for today’s series finale.