The battle of aces in Arlington, Texas, Monday night turned into a one-sided affair as Oakland Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout and the A’s roughed up Texas ace Yu Darvish in a 4-0 win at Globe Life Park.
Gray (4-1) threw 108 pitches, walking one and striking out six. It was also his first career complete game.
The A’s (16-10) got to Darvish (1-1) in the top of the third. Eric Sogard drew a one-out walk and went to third on a sinking liner to center by Coco Crisp. Jed Lowrie was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Josh Donaldson singled to left to put the A’s up 2-0.
Brandon Moss singled to load the bases and catcher Robinson Chirinos threw behind him at first, with Moss initially being ruled safe. But Texas manager Ron Washington challenged the call and it was overturned on replay. Alberto Callaspo then flew out to end the inning.
Darvish ran into more trouble in the fourth. John Jaso led off with a single and Josh Reddick followed with a triple to right to make it a 3-0 game. Daric Barton’s sacrifice fly scored Reddick and Eric Sogard walked, ending the night for Darvish.
It was the shortest outing of Darvish’s career, as he fell to 1-7 against Oakland with a 4.73 ERA in nine career starts.
That was all Gray (4-1) would need. Texas (15-11) did get a runner to second in the third inning after Leonys Martin got the Rangers’ first hit and moved up when Chirinos was hit by a pitch. But Michael Choice grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Rangers got a runner to third in the sixth inning. Chirinos singled, moved up on two wild pitches by Gray, but the young right-hander got Elvis Andrus to ground out to preserve the shutout.
Gray retired the final seven hitters he faced, closing the game out by getting Prince Fielder to line out to Reddick in right field.
The A’s had eight hits, including a 3-for-4 night for Reddick, who is 15-for-35 over his last 11 games, raising his average from .098 to .250. Jason was 2-for-4 and Donaldson’s two RBI give him eight in his last five games and 22 on the season.
Gray threw 73 of his 108 pitches for strikes and got 13 ground-ball outs, lowering his ERA to 1.76.
The series continues Tuesday with a pair of unbeaten left-handers scheduled to start. Scott Kazmir (3-0, 1.62 ERA) will go for Oakland and Martin Perez (4-0, 1.42 ERA)—who shut out the A’s in Oakland on Wednesday—is set to get the ball for Texas for the 5:05 p.m. Pacific start.