Gray tames Astros' lineup in complete game

Gray tames Astros' lineup in complete game

OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray tossed a complete game, out-pitching Dallas Keuchel and helping the A's beat the Astros, 3-1, at the Coliseum on Friday night.

Gray and Keuchel came in with similar resumes, but Gray yielded just one run while Keuchel allowed three runs over 7 2/3 innings.

"I don't think it matters who he goes against," A's catcher Josh Phegley said. "He's just out to prove he's one of the best pitchers in the American League."

Danny Valencia homered in the third for the A's, his first with the club. Billy Burns hit a sacrifice fly that scored Phegley in the second, and Phegley plated Brett Lawrie with a ground-rule double in the fifth.

The Astros hit the ball hard against Gray early in the game and couldn't find any holes, while Keuchel was hampered by some soft contact in the infield, though he did give up a homer to Valencia to lead off the third.

"They had traffic on the base the whole time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They put a lot of pressure on him to have to make pitches with guys on base. The three hits in a row, I think only one left the infield -- the hit by pitch, the home run. They found a way to get on base in different ways and that proved to be a lot of traffic for Dallas to have to deal with."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Melvin on 3-1 win over Astros

Gray-t once again: Gray gave up five hits and struck out five in the win, recording his third complete game in his last six starts. The right-hander has now yielded a total of four runs in his last four starts (31 innings) and helped his cause for the American League Cy Young Award.

"I just challenged them a lot with my fastball," Gray said. "It wasn't the best that it's been. Slider wasn't the best that it's been, but like I said, trying to make them put ball in play as quick as possible and as early in the count as possible. We were just fortunate enough to have it go our way tonight." More >

Keuchel's solid start

Misplays cost Keuchel: Keuchel allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in four of his first five innings, and three times they came around to score, and he lamented plays that he wasn't able to make on the infield. He threw 7 2/3 innings to extend his club record by working at least six innings for the 34th start in a row, but fell to 3-6 with a 2.45 ERA on the road this season.

"I thought they were taking some good pitches early and forcing me into hitters' counts," Keuchel said. "Even though they didn't really hit the ball extremely hard off me, but it was good luck for them. I can't get myself in hitters' counts consistently early on. I need to find my groove, but Sonny had pitched a heck of a game." More >

Valencia on win

Welcome to Oakland: Valencia, in his second game with the A's, reached base three times. He walked in the first, hit the solo shot in the third and singled in the fifth. He also made a terrific running catch in foul ground in the seventh inning. More >

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Billy Burns recorded his 100th hit on Friday. He signed the ball for his sister, Abbey, and gave it to her after the game.

WHAT'S NEXT
Astros:Collin McHugh (13-5, 4.27 ERA) will try to win his fifth consecutive start when he gets the ball for the Astros in Saturday's 3:05 p.m. CT game at the Coliseum. McHugh has gone 4-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his past four starts.

A's: Jesse Chavez (5-11, 3.88) is on the mound for Saturday's game at 1:05 p.m. PT, looking to bounce back after yielding six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last start. The right-hander is 1-5 with a 6.23 ERA and .322 opponents' batting average over his last seven outings.

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Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.