DETROIT -- Sonny Gray took an already-struggling Tigers offense and shut it down for eight innings Wednesday night, allowing two singles and four balls out of the infield in the A's 6-1 win at Comerica Park.
Gray didn't allow a base hit until former teammate Yoenis Cespedes singled with two outs in the fourth, then didn't allow another until Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder through the middle leading off the seventh. The one opponent Gray couldn't overcome was his pitch count, which reached 108 after eight innings.
"You feel like you get one run for that guy, whether it's the first or the eighth, you're going to get a 'W' no matter what," said A's outfielder Josh Reddick. "He goes out there with the utmost confidence in himself, and I think it gives our lineup a little bit of a boost in knowing that if we can score one or two, it's going to be a shutout for him."
Detroit's sixth consecutive loss marked its longest skid since 2011. It was the quietest loss of the streak, leaving an announced crowd of 30,718 in conversation amongst themselves for most of the evening before Cabrera's RBI double in the ninth broke up the shutout bid.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Motown shutdown: In typical Gray fashion, the right-hander mowed through the opposing lineup with ease, limiting the Tigers to just two hits over eight scoreless innings to lower his ERA to a Major League-leading 1.65. It marked the fourth time in 12 starts Gray hasn't allowed a run. He fanned seven and walked one, not once allowing a runner to reach third base.
"Everything was moving," Cabrera said. "He had really good stuff." More >
Sanchez pays for walks: Five days after seemingly escaping his struggles to limit big hits, Sanchez gave up two of them Wednesday, but paid the price for two-out walks to eighth and ninth hitters Mark Canha and Eric Sogard. Both walked on 3-2 pitches, Canha after a 1-2 count, loading the bases and extending the second inning for Burns to clear the bases with a first-pitch triple.
"Obviously you don't want to walk guys," manager Brad Ausmus said. More >
First-pitch frenzy: Burns' hot-hitting ways continued in the second inning, when the outfielder grounded a two-out triple down the right-field line to clear the bases and hand Gray an early three-run lead. Not surprisingly, Burns did it on the first pitch, and is now 14-for-26 with five extra-base hits when putting the first pitch in play.
"He's had some quick at-bats, but he's pretty good at picking the pitch he wants," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He was looking for something inside hard, and got it. Just another big hit. Now he's starting to drive runs in, too."
Cabrera breaks up shutout bid: The Tigers hadn't scored in 13 innings before Jose Iglesias' one-out single set up Cabrera, whose drive to center one-hopped the wall and sent Iglesias around to end Oakland's shutout. Cabrera went 2-for-4 to extend his streak to 22 consecutive games reaching base safely, the longest current streak in the Majors. More >
"The only thing that would be embarrassing would be if the effort wasn't there, and I don't see that. The effort is there. These guys are here early. They're working their tails off, the guys that are scuffling. They feel awful, because they feel like they're not helping their teammates. The effort's there, and the talent is there, so you would assume that over 162 games, six months, that it all shines through." -- Ausmus on the Tigers' offensive struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With 13 home runs allowed in 74 1/3 innings this season, Sanchez has allowed as many homers as he did over 308 innings in his previous two seasons combined.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who has pitched to a 2.63 ERA while holding opponents to a .202 average over his last four starts, returns to the mound for Thursday's matinee against the Tigers at Comerica Park. First pitch is scheduled for 10:08 a.m. PT.
Tigers:Shane Greene, who became the first pitcher in modern Major League history to give up five home runs in an outing of five outs or fewer in his last start, Saturday against the Angels, will hope for better fortunes at home Thursday at 1:08 p.m. ET.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.