Heaney darkhorse for Rookie of the Year

Lefty allows three runs in seven innings against A's ace Gray

Heaney darkhorse for Rookie of the Year

OAKLAND -- Five days ago, Angels starter Andrew Heaney was asked if he had given much thought to the American League Rookie of the Year Award, to which he replied, "For what?"

Then he faced off against the electric Sonny Gray on Wednesday afternoon, limited the A's to only three runs through seven innings in a 9-4 win and improved to 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA in a year that didn't even begin until late June.

So, now what?

"I went ahead and looked at some of the stats of the other guys the other day," said Heaney, mentioning candidates such as A's center fielder Billy Burns, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna. "I don't know. I don't know how that works. I don't put up amazing numbers, I don't punch out a lot of people, so I don't know. But it is intriguing."

Heaney's latest start was intriguing. He was spotted a four-run lead in the top of the first, gave up three runs in the bottom half -- a product of five straight two-out hits, including a two-run homer by Josh Phegley -- and then dominated the rest of the afternoon.

Phegley's two-run homer

The 24-year-old left-hander gave up only two hits over the next six frames, striking out five, and later concluded: "I'm really proud of what I did today."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia called it "another growth game for another young pitcher."

Heaney was five days removed from throwing six shutout innings in Cleveland, but in a way, this start was even more impressive.

"After that first inning, no doubt he pitched better," Scioscia said. "He was pitch-efficient."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.