ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray wins at Texas even when he’s not at his best.
Gray and the Athletics benefited from a big two-out hit by Sam Fuld, three RBIs from Josh Reddick and another solid outing from the bullpen for a 6-3 victory Thursday to complete a three-game series sweep.
“This is the kind of run we need to stay on,” Reddick said. “We’ve gotten to a point where we’re clicking on all cylinders.”
The A’s have won a season-best five games in a row, and nine of 11.
Gray (9-3) struck out seven and walked one while allowing three runs over six innings, improving to 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his five road starts against the Rangers. The right-hander had given up only one run in 31 1-3 innings the previous four starts, including two shutouts last season.
Reddick, who had a tying sac fly in the sixth, added a two-run single with two outs in the seventh after Ben Zobrist drew a bases-loaded walk off Sam Freeman to break a 3-3 tie.
That was after Gray had thrown the last of his 92 pitches and given up nine hits on a hot day in Texas. A’s manager Bob Melvin said he got no argument from the righty about taking him out.
“He knew it was the right thing,” Melvin said. “He battles himself sometimes. He can be as tough on himself as opposed to battling the opponent, and there are periods during the season when you just don’t feel completely locked in, which is odd to hear about him.”
Tyler Clippard, the fourth Oakland pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances. He hadn’t pitched since Saturday and Sunday, when he was the first A’s reliever since 1996 with saves of three or more outs on consecutive days.
Oakland is headed home for a weekend series against the Royals. They had a contentious series in Kansas City in April when the benches cleared in all three games.
Mitch Moreland had three hits for Texas, which has lost five in a row for the first time under new manager Jeff Banister. Moreland’s ninth homer led off the fourth, an inning before his RBI single.
Texas starter Colby Lewis had walked only two batters his previous 33 innings before three walks in the fifth to load the bases. The A’s then tied the game at 2 on No. 9 hitter Fuld’s two-out, two-run single on a full-count pitch.
Oakland loaded the bases again with three consecutive singles, two of them infield hits, to start the sixth. Reddick had a sac fly before Lewis’ 100th and final pitch, a grounder that ricocheted off his foot to second baseman Rougned Odor for an inning-ending 1-4-3 putout.
“I flat just let them back in the ballgame and beat myself in the fifth. … That’s basically what happened,” Lewis said. “It’s solely on myself. I got in a 3-2 count with Fuld there and threw three fastballs right in same spot and he wound up hitting it. That might have sparked them a little bit.”
Keone Kela (4-5) got the first two outs of the seventh before consecutive singles and giving way to Freeman, who failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.
WILL BENCHES CLEAR AGAIN?
When the A’s played at Kansas City in April, the benches cleared during all three games. The defending AL champion Royals will be in Oakland for three games starting Friday.
“Water under the bridge. Just play baseball, that’s the way I look at it,” Melvin said. “That was an uncomfortable three-game series to have to play through.”
A’s FOR OAKLAND
The A’s bullpen allowed one unearned run over nine innings in the series at Texas. … Billy Burns’ single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 15 games. The rookie CF has hits in 27 of his past 28 games.
Athletics: Stephen Vogt started his 48th game at catcher, his first since a cortisone shot Sunday in his left elbow. He played first base in his return Wednesday.
Rangers: OF Delino DeShields (left hamstring strain) will work out for the third consecutive day on Friday, and if all goes well will start a rehab assignment Saturday. He has been on the DL since June 15, and the earliest he could come back would be Tuesday. … RF Shin-Soo Choo was back in the lineup after missing two games with lower back spasms.
Athletics: Oakland goes home for 10 games, part of a stretch playing 15 of 18 games at home. The exception was the series in Texas. Jesse Hahn, 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA his past six starts, is scheduled to pitch Friday against Kansas City.
Rangers: Texas, 22-17 on the road, opens a three-game series at Toronto with right-hander Nick Martinez on the mound.