Giants & A’s

Matt Kawahara, Bay Area baseball beat writer

Gray, A’s flip the script against Gausman, Orioles in 10-2 win

07/20/2014 7:11 PM

07/20/2014 7:11 PM

OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes hadn’t had an extra-base hit since June 25 before he doubled off the wall in the sixth inning Sunday. Eric Sogard had one hit in 16 at-bats dating back to June 17. He doubled that total with singles in his first two at-bats.

It was that kind of offensive day for the A’s, who rapped out 15 hits in a 10-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Every starter except Jed Lowrie had at least one hit as the A’s -- who entered the game with the lowest batting average (.234) in the league in July -- hit the double-digit run mark for the first time since June 17.

They did the early damage against a pitcher in Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman who had held them to one run over seven innings in Baltimore in June. So it was a satisfying day all around for the A’s lineup.

"He pretty much dominated our lineup last go-around," third baseman Josh Donaldson said of Gausman. "And today we were able to have some good at-bats and kind of get it going early, and really just throughout the day continue to grind it out."

Donaldson knocked Gausman out of the game with a single leading off the fifth inning. To that point, Gausman had already thrown 88 pitches and allowed nine hits. Donaldson wound up scoring on Stephen Vogt’s double in the first of consecutive three-run innings.

"We had some good approaches," manager Bob Melvin said. "We made a tough pitcher, who pitched well against us last time, work. And that’s usually when we’re at our best.

"Typically we’ll hit some home runs, too, when everything’s going well. But you make a guy work, you get him a little more predictable in some better counts, then pass the baton to the next guy."

Coco Crisp started the barrage with a leadoff single in the first and scored as John Jaso followed with a triple. The A’s are now 30-5 when Crisp scores a run this year -- a sign of his importance to the offense and their need to keep him on the field in the second half.

Vogt had a three-hit day and is now batting .364 on the season. Cespedes had two hits, Craig Gentry drove in two runs for his first multi-RBI game since last Sept. 29, Sogard had his first multi-hit game since June 1 and Donaldson reached 70 RBIs, tied for fifth-most in the league.

"I can’t really say there was any particular approach that we talked about before the game but it seemed like our bats just got rolling," Jaso said. "Like they say, hitting is infectious. So our team responded that way."

* It backed up a strong outing from Sonny Gray, the focus of tomorrow’s print story. The key stat there: Gray has now made 10 starts this season following an A’s loss. He’s 8-1 in those games with a 1.71 ERA, and all have been quality starts, including seven in which he has allowed no more than one earned run.

"Coming off a loss, I know going in it’s games that I really want to put up a good performance and try to get the team back on track," Gray said. "I think everyone’s very conscious of it."

Gray said he was also conscious Sunday of his brief history against the Orioles. He had two previous starts against them, in which he’d allowed 11 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings while taking the loss both times.

"Yeah, they’ve gotten me twice there, so I really wanted to get them today," Gray said. "And it was awesome when we scored in every inning except for a couple -- that was big -- but just really wanted to go after these guys with my stuff in front of the fans and hope to come away with a good outing."

Gray has had only good outings in July, as he’s now 4-0 this month, allowing three total earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. He has not lost a start since June 13, and his 11 wins rank second among American League starters, while his 2.72 ERA ranks sixth.

* Donaldson recorded one of his RBIs on a bizarre sacrifice fly in the third. He hit a low liner to Adam Jones in center field, where Jones caught the ball, put his head down and started jogging toward the infield, as though he thought it was the third out of the inning. It was actually the second, which Jones realized only after Yoenis Cespedes was able to jog in from third base.

The weird part, though -- Jones clearly wasn’t the only one who thought the inning was over, as almost the entire right side of the Orioles defense started toward their dugout. It even had Donaldson confused momentarily.

"I saw them running off and I was like, I hope that’s a sac fly," Donaldson said. "That’s just one of those things -- that’s a bad feeling for anybody." Donaldson said he has lost track of outs "a couple times myself, and it’s not fun. But with that being said, (Jones is) a really good baseball player."

Said Melvin of the play: "Just something where one guy does something and everybody kind of follows the lead. It was a little odd."

* It was the A’s turn to get sloppy after the game got out of hand late. They made three errors on the infield, all throwing, including one on a flip by Sogard that snapped a 62-game errorless streak by the second baseman. It was the fourth-longest streak by a second baseman in the Oakland era.

Melvin specified team defense earlier this weekend as one area where he’d like to see the A’s improve in the second half. It didn’t hurt them Sunday, but those plays could loom a lot larger in a closer game.

* Despite the big lead, closer Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the ninth, striking out two in a scoreless inning. Melvin said that was because Doolittle had pitched just once since July 6 -- twice counting the All-Star Game -- and with a day off Monday, he wanted to make sure Doolittle got some work in this series.

* After the day off, it’s the Houston Astros coming into the Coliseum for three games. The pitching probables:

Tuesday: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (2-7, 4.50) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.38)

Wednesday: RHP Brad Peacock (3-6, 4.39) vs. RHP Jesse Chavez (7-6, 3.14)

Thursday: RHP Scott Feldman (4-7, 4.30) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 3.27)

About This Blog

Matt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at mkawahara@sacbee.com. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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