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Gray Tosses Seven Scoreless, Texas Tames Oakland 5-2

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The Athletics’ Tony Kemp breaks his bat fouling off a pitch thrown by Rangers starter Jon Gray | Image by Tony Gutierrez

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One game after the Rangers’ pitching staff was bullied by the Athletics – allowing 14 runs on 13 hits in a 14-7 extra-innings loss – Jon Gray took the mound for Texas and calmed the waters, tossing seven innings of one-hit baseball in a 5-2 win on Wednesday.

“That was dominant,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said of Gray’s outing. “I had to look back and see if anything was even hit hard. He was absolutely dominant. And the cool thing was that he finished dominant, too. We got to the middle innings, and they were putting balls in play, but he finished off the night striking guys out again. It was just a really good performance by him.”

The abundance of goose eggs on Gray’s pitching stat line proves Woodward wasn’t speaking in hyperbole.

Gray pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just one hit with no walks and nine strikeouts. Of the 95 total pitches hurled by Gray, 67 were strikes, and of the 22 batters he faced, only one got on base.

Gray ran his record to 6-4 at the halfway mark of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.71 after the outing.

While Gray mastered the mound, the Rangers’ bats heated up in the first inning and gave their starting pitcher all the run support he would need for the victory, posting a five-spot in the first frame.

Marcus Semien worked his way on base after a fielder’s choice and promptly stole second base for his 16th swipe of the year. As Semien slid into second, an errant throw by the A’s catcher allowed Semien to hustle to third base.

Woodward said the steal and advance kick-started the Ranger’s offense and, again, the proof is in the pudding.

Corey Seager swatted a single to right to plate Semien in the next at-bat of the tilt for a 1-0 lead.

Nathaniel Lowe then earned a walk to push Seager to second. Jonah Heim followed suit with another walk to juice the sacks before Kole Calhoun fanned, leaving the bases loaded with two outs.

Leody Taveras, closing in on two years since his MLB debut, knocked a 1-1, 78 mph curve ball to center to plate Seager and Lowe for a 3-0 lead.

Taveras then stole second base for his fourth theft of the season ahead of a Brad Miller single to right, scoring Heim and Taveras to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead after one.

“We didn’t do much after that,” Woodward said. “So that that first two-out hit by Leody is something that he’s been working really hard on, especially on those breaking balls to stay kind of through the middle and not roll over the hands and showed up right there. And obviously Brad, with, you know, the little jam shot …from that point on, was nice to have a lead.”

Matt “Matty Ice” Bush tossed a perfect eighth inning in Gray’s relief, fanning two.

Texas righty-reliever José Leclerc was the only Rangers pitcher to be hit hard on the night, as the 29-year-old Dominican allowed two homers while collecting two outs before his departure.

Garrett Richards recorded the final out of the contest for Texas, earning his first save of the season and just the sixth in his 10-year career.

The win pushes Texas to 41-45 on the year, good for third place in the AL West. Houston leads the West with a record of 57-30, 15.5 games ahead of the Rangers. Seattle’s 47-42 record gives them a second place standing, 4.5 games better than Texas.

The Rangers will have a chance to make up ground on the Mariners as Seattle comes to Arlington for a four-game series starting Thursday at 7:05 CDT.

Probable starters for the night’s contest are Texas Ace and lone Rangers 2022 All-Star Martin Perez (7-2, 2.72) and Marco Gonzales (5-9, 3.24) for Seattle.   

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