Gray has few answers for poor command

A's ace says he's healthy following shortest start of career

Gray has few answers for poor command

DETROIT -- It was the shortest start of Sonny Gray's Major League career, but it wasn't a complete surprise to Gray himself.

The A's right-hander lasted just two innings in Wednesday night's 9-4 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park, giving up four runs, two hits and four walks while striking out two.

"It's no secret I've been a little more out of the zone than I would like to be early in the year," Gray said. "This is really the first time it's hurt me. You look at all my starts leading into this one, I've had some close calls. I've been a little wild and been able to pitch out of it. Today, I was, once again, a little wild and not throwing a lot of strikes. "

Only 36 of Gray's 65 pitches were strikes, including four of 12 curveballs and 10 of 18 two-seam fastballs, according to Brooks Baseball.

Gray allowed a walk and hit a batter in the first inning but escaped unscathed. In his 40-pitch second, Nick Castellanos led off with a triple. A walk between two groundouts followed, plating one run and leaving one out to go, but the second of Detroit's three walks in the inning preceded J.D. Martinez's three-run home run.

Martinez's three-run blast

"J.D. hit the big three-run homer, which hadn't happened to me yet," Gray said. "It was two very long innings I brought upon myself."

Gray got Victor Martinez to ground out to end the inning, but that would be his last batter, even with a bullpen that had been worked fairly heavily lately.

"[Gray] just struggled, and it's the first time we've seen him [like that]," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Forty pitches in an inning. That would have been his last hitter either way. I just didn't want to risk sending him out there again. I know we had to cover a lot of the game with the bullpen, but that's our guy, and you want to make sure he's healthy next time around."

Melvin wouldn't give Gray the option to stay in the game, but the pitcher didn't protest.

Gray insisted that he's healthy. He simply didn't have a good feel for the ball.

"Physically, I feel fine; I just didn't have anything today," Gray said. "I think that's what [Melvin] was talking about. I feel great. I just didn't have anything on the ball. My breaking ball was pretty bad -- every one I threw. It was one of those going in where I was hoping I could grind through it and pull it out, but [65] pitches and two innings, and I was out of the game."

Gray said he just tried to get the ball down the middle in the second inning but even struggled at that. The focus now is to get ready for his next start.

"We'll come in tomorrow and try to figure out the game plan going forward," Gray said. "Try not to dwell on it too much tonight. Obviously, I'm going to have to get back on the mound and compete and perform. It's one of those where you look forward to five days from now to put this one behind you."

Chris Vannini is a contributor to based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.