ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jon Gray allowed just one hit in the fourth inning in seven shutout innings, Leadi Taveros and Brad Miller each had two-run singles in the first of five innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics with 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Gray (6-4) struck out nine and walked none in his fifth win in his last six starts. He retired Oakland’s first nine batters, striking out five, before Vimael Machin pitched an 0-1 pitch that shortstop Marcus Semien got to the glove in left but couldn’t make a fielder. Gray made 95 shots, seven shy of a season high.
“It was definitely a hit,” Gray said. “It crossed my mind. If I had just raised my hand, I think I would have caught him.”
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he was somewhat thankful the no-hitter ended relatively early without forcing a later decision on Gray’s pitch count.
“I didn’t want him to go up in the 130s,” Woodward said. “Even that (hit estimate) was controversial. I still think it was a hit.”
Texas led 5-0 in the ninth, but Garrett Richards was called for a one-out save, his first of the season, after Jose Leclerc gave up solo homers by Sky Bolt and Ramona 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 couldn’t hit a homer, ending his five-game longball streak, the longest in the majors this season.
Blackburn allowed all five runs in the first on three singles and three walks. He allowed just one more baserunner over six innings, a two-out walk to Semien in the fifth. Texas added just one more hit against the Athletics bullpen.
It was Blackburn’s first start since being named as Auckland’s sole representative for the All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
“He just couldn’t get comfortable with the baseball,” A’s manager Mark Kotsai said. “Unfortunately, it happens in the first inning.”
Gray signed a four-year, $56 million contract as a free agent last December after spending the first seven seasons in the Colorado majors. The 30-year-old has one complete game in his career, an 8-0 shutout against San Diego on September 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 had one of his great outings against Houston on April 2, 2013, with 14 when Marvin Gonzalez hit a first-pitch single between Darvish’s legs up the middle.
Texas recalled RHPs AJ Alexi and Josh Sbortz from Triple-A Round Rock and optioned LHP Colby Allard to Round Rock.
Semien stole two bases to increase his season total to a career-high 16. … Adolis Garcia’s Rangers got a rest day. The club leader with 51 RBI is 0-18 with nine strikeouts in his last 10 games.
A: RHP Frankie Montas (shoulder inflammation) could start this weekend after missing one start, but Kotsai said Montas was a little sore after throwing Wednesday in the bullpen and remains day-to-day.
Rangers: RHP Joe Barlow (index finger blister), the club’s leader with 13 saves, was placed on the 15-day disabled 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 reassigned from Round Rock to Double-A Frisco.
Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin (3-7, 3.32 ERA) will start Friday night to start a three-game series in Houston. Irvine is 1-6 in his last 11 starts.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (7-2, 2.72) will open a four-game homestand Thursday night against Seattle LHP Marco Gonzalez (5-9, 3.24).