OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gray took a no-hitter into the seventh and finished with eight scoreless innings, Nathaniel Lowe homered to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-0 on Saturday.
Ezequiel Duran also connected on a two-run homer in the ninth for the AL West-leading Rangers, who are 24-15 for their best mark through 39 games since going 25-14 in 2013.
Gray (3-1) was magnificent despite another small crowd of 8,230 at the Coliseum. The 31-year-old right-hander retired 20 of the first 22 batters he faced and worked around a pair of walks while dominating the worst team in baseball.
“It was the Jon Gray show,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “He threw a very similar outing to the last one in Seattle. Threw a lot of strikes , good slider going, good fastball. He mixed it up well. Our bullpen was a little beat up so we needed him to go deep and he gave us all that we expected.”
Gray set down the first two batters in the seventh before the light-hitting Jace Peterson slapped a single to right for the A’s first hit. Peterson was later thrown out sliding into home trying to score on a relay throw from second baseman Marcus Semien following Ramón Laureano’s double.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay challenged that catcher Sandy León blocked the plate but the call was upheld after review.
Kotsay was still fuming afterward.
“I’m not sure how they missed this one today,” Kotsay said. “It changed the game. There were two angles that we had that clearly showed he was safe.”
John King worked the ninth inning for Texas to complete the five-hitter.
The win came less than 24 hours after the Rangers lost their second in seven games on Brent Rooker’s game-ending three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th. Texas has not lost back-to-back games against AL West opponents this season.
The game marked the longest a Texas starter had carried a no-hit bid since Bartolo Colon retired the first 21 batters against the Houston Astros in 2018.
“It was a good week for me because I was able to repeat the delivery and keep the pitches the same shape at least,” Gray said. “I feel like I was the same this time as I was last time. I didn’t feel good overall but the results were there.”
This one was a combination of Gray’s dominance and Texas’ timely offense.
Semien singled leading off the game, stole second and third then strolled home when Lowe poked a one-out single to left.
The former A’s shortstop later drove a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Josh Smith. Smith doubled and was sacrificed to third.
“This is a place that I’m very familiar with, very comfortable with,” Semien said.
Texas did all of its scoring off A’s starter James Kaprielian (0-3), who was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas before the game. Kaprielian allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings.
Peterson made a spectacular catch while running over the bullpen mound in foul territory before falling over a soft-cushioned wall near the stands.
Rangers: Smith left the game with left foot soreness. He was taken for X-rays, which were negative.
Athletics: The team is still awaiting word on rookie Mason Miller’s condition after the right-hander received a second opinion on his right forearm tightness injury that landed him on the Injured List earlier this week. ... RHP Spencer Patton was designated for assignment to make room on the roster.
Rangers LHP Andrew Heaney (2-3, 5,26) faces Oakland for the second time this season in Sunday’s series finale. He had six strikeouts in six innings and got the win in Arlington on April 22. LHP JP Sears (0-3, 5.54), whose turn in the rotation was pushed back a day by the arrival of Kaprielian, goes for the A’s.