Ace chased: Gray's slump continues in Boston

All-Star right-hander ties season high by allowing seven runs in loss to Red Sox

Ace chased: Gray's slump continues in Boston

BOSTON -- The A's endured a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in Boston on Monday. Injuries mounted, and so did Sonny Gray's ERA.

It sits at 6.00 following the team's 14-7 series-opening defeat to the Red Sox. Gray -- who lacked command with any of his pitches, particularly in a six-run fourth -- was responsible for half of Boston's run total, staying in the game for only 3 2/3 innings, scattering eight hits, five of them for extra-bases.

Oakland's ace, who finished third in American League Cy Young voting last season, has seemingly succumbed to a rotation-wide trend: A's starters have a 7.62 ERA over their last 16 games, with 68 earned runs allowed in 80 1/3 innings.

Gray alone has been knocked around for 18 runs in 12 2/3 innings in his last three starts, after posting a 2.73 ERA in his first four starts. This from a pitcher the A's desperately need to rely on amid an already disappointing start to the season.

Sox plate six runs in the 4th

The A's have lost three in a row and 12 of their last 16 following a six-game winning streak.

"This hasn't just been pretty pathetic but very bad," Gray said. "It's definitely a struggle, and I have to start getting people out pretty soon."

Gray, 26, has never traversed such rocky roads in his athletic career, putting this All-Star pitcher in an unfamiliar position. At the very least, he insists he's healthy.

"That's the hard part, a guy that's been as good as he has been and as consistent as he's been, to go through a struggle, it's foreign territory," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "This might be the first time in his life that he's ever struggled, and it's just something he's going to have to deal with, and he will."

"I feel great, I'm just leaving the ball up and hovering over the middle of the plate constantly," Gray said. "You look at every ball that was put in play tonight, middle of the plate. It's just something we have to get a hold of and pretty quick.

"I'm trying to stay positive. I'm healthy and I feel great, so those are definitely positives to take out. I just have to stay positive and confident out there and hopefully this will turn around in the next outing."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.