A's belt three homers to take down Red Sox

A's belt three homers to take down Red Sox

OAKLAND -- Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis and Chad Pinder homered as the A's spoiled the Major League debut of Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez and claimed an 8-3 series-opening victory at the Coliseum on Thursday evening.

Sonny Gray was awarded his first win of 2017 with six strong innings, rebounding from a two-run, 31-pitch opening frame to allow one run the rest of the way. The A's right-hander yielded four hits, including a home run to Mitch Moreland, and struck out eight in his fourth start of the season.

"Sonny was absolutely outstanding," A's catcher Stephen Vogt said. "The first inning, they jumped on him a little bit, took advantage of the few mistakes he did make tonight. But he looked as good as I've seen him in a very long time. He felt good, had all four pitches working, really put the ball where he wanted to when he wanted to. Had that swing-and-miss slider tonight that we all know he has. It was very refreshing to see that."

Gray regroups to pick up first win of season

Gray's strong outing

The 28-year-old Velazquez was responsible for six runs and nine hits in five innings, walking two and fanning four in the 101-pitch outing. His contract was purchased by the Red Sox out of the Mexican League in February and he joined the team Thursday afternoon.

"First time out for [Velazquez]," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Not making any excuses -- this isn't a 21-year-old coming up and making his debut. Just more the command within the strike zone that's been his billing from the time we signed to what we saw in Spring Training. Pitches up in the middle of the plate cost him."

Velazquez roughed up by A's in MLB debut

Velazquez escapes jam with DP

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Taking control: Staring down an early 2-0 deficit, the A's responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, after totaling just two hits the night before in a shutout loss in Seattle. The inning featured the first back-to-back home runs by the A's this season, with former Red Sox infielder Lowrie sending one to dead center for a two-run shot and Davis lifting one over the right-center-field wall. Davis has 12, tying Yonder Alonso for the team lead.

"We've been having a little trouble in the first inning," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When you're constantly behind coming into your first at-bat, it makes it a little bit more difficult. So to be able to respond and end up taking the lead, it was big. Obviously, we had a tough [1-5] trip. Home's been a little bit better to us than the road, so it's a good start for us against a good team."

Lowrie's two-run dinger

Adding on: After Moreland notched his fourth career home run off Gray in the fourth inning, the A's again answered back, getting three runs in the bottom of the inning -- two coming on Pinder's third homer. Trevor Plouffe also hit an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to nine games, helping the A's distance themselves from a potent Red Sox club. Plouffe finished with three hits and is batting .424 during the streak.

"Trevor's got a history of hitting," Melvin said. "He's swinging the bat now as well as he has all year."

Pinder's two-run homer

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Rajai Davis led off the third inning with what was initially ruled a triple, but the Red Sox challenged and replay officials determined that he came off the bag while third baseman Deven Marrero was applying the tag, and the call was overturned.

Marrero tags out Davis at third

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Chris Sale seeks to tie a Major League record he already co-owns with his eighth straight start of 10 strikeouts or more on Friday at 9:35 p.m. ET against the A's. Sale, who leads the Majors with 85 strikeouts and a 0.77 WHIP, went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against Oakland last year.

A's: Right-hander Kendall Graveman is on tap to start the second game of this four-game series, scheduled for 6:35 p.m. PT Friday at the Coliseum. Graveman has a 5.48 ERA in four starts since his return from the disabled list, after posting a 2.00 ERA in his first three starts.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Red Sox on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.