OAKLAND (AP) — An improving change-up that repeatedly fooled the White Sox hitters was more than enough to offset the stomach illness that bothered Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray most of the afternoon.
Another three-hit game from Jed Lowrie and four stolen bases by Rajai Davis definitely helped Gray feel a lot better, too.
Gray pitched six mostly sharp innings to beat Chicago for the second time in two weeks and Oakland defeated the White Sox 7-4 on Wednesday.
“He was sick all day today and to get six out of him like we did . he stepped up because he was not feeling too good before the game and he’s not feeling great right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s back to looking like he has in the past, and a lot of it had to do with health. Now he’s back doing his thing like we’ve expected him to do.”
Jed Lowrie added three hits and two RBI, Bruce Maxwell doubled in two runs and Jaycob Brugman homered to help the A’s to their second straight home win following eight consecutive losses at the Coliseum.
The win was manager Bob Melvin’s 499th with the A’s and the 992nd of his career.
Gray (4-4) surrendered a two-run home run to Matt Davidson in the fifth, the only blemish during an otherwise strong outing. Gray gave up two runs on three hits with five strikeouts, and has allowed four runs over his last 21 innings — a 1.71 ERA.
“I think I’ve just gotten into a little bit of a groove, a little bit of a rhythm,” Gray said. “When I’m at my best I’m not necessarily going to strike a lot of people out but I’m going to get a lot of groundballs, and I’ve been getting that a lot lately. I just feel like I’m able to do what I want.”
Todd Frazier also homered for the White Sox, a two-run blast off reliever Sean Doolittle in the ninth.
Lowrie singled in the first and in the third before breaking the game open with a two-run single in the fourth. It’s Lowrie’s eighth three-hit game of the season.
Davidson’s homer was his 18th.
White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey (3-7) retired 10 batters and allowed four runs to fall to 0-6 in six career starts in Oakland. It’s the 10th time in 14 starts that the right-hander has pitched five innings or fewer.
“I obviously killed the bullpen,” Pelfrey said. “We obviously didn’t give up, we kept fighting and I didn’t do my part especially going up against somebody like Sonny Gray on the other side.”
Oakland’s Rajai Davis finished with a career-high tying four stolen bases, two coming in the fourth when he singled and scored. Davis also had two more in the sixth, becoming the first A’s player with four steals in one game since Coco Crisp did it on Aug. 6, 2011. The franchise record is five, shared by major league stolen base record-holder Rickey Henderson and Bert Campaneris. “When Raj gets on he’s one of the premiere guys in the league and that’s what he can do,” Melvin said.
White Sox: 2B Tyler Saladino is making progress in his recovery from back spasms and the team is encouraged by his stats (2-for-5, walk) through the first two games of his rehab assignment. CF Leury Garcia (sprained finger) is continuing his rehab in Arizona.
Athletics: Catcher Josh Phegley was placed on the paternity list. He and his wife welcomed a baby daughter at 12:56 a.m. 3B Ryon Healy (back spasms) sat out his third consecutive game, although manager Bob Melvin indicated Healy could return soon. SS Marcus Semien (fractured scaphoid bone) remains on track to come off the DL and join the big league club in Seattle this weekend.
White Sox: Following an off day Thursday, Derek Holland (5-8, 4.52) pitches the opener of a three-game series in Colorado on Friday. It will be the left-hander’s first regular-season appearance against the Rockies.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (0-0, 0.00) makes the second start of his career in Seattle on Thursday. Blackburn pitched six shutout innings against the Braves in his major league debut July 1.