Looking for a silver lining in the A's 5-0 interleague series-ending loss to Pittsburgh Wednesday night, a game that was delayed by a two hour and 50 minute rain delay before first pitch and ended at 12:49 a.m. local time?
Look no further than the major league debut of right-hander Sonny Gray, the A's top draft pick in the 2011 draft.
Gray pitched two scoreless innings in relief, striking out three and giving up one single in 25 pitches.
Other than that, the A's were as listless as the Pirates were desperate for a victory. It was the Pirates' first victory in 12 games against Oakland. And still, the A's (54-38) remained one-half game ahead of Texas, which lost to Baltimore, in the American League West.
It was the Pirates' major league-leading 13th shutout, and the sixth time the A's were held scoreless this season.
Starting pitching report
Tommy Milone suffered through the shortest outing if his young career -- 2 2/3 innings -- and took the loss to fall to 8-8 as he gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks. The left-hander also struck out two but threw 80 pitches, 54 strikes. It was the fifth straight start in which Milone gave up at least three runs.
Pat Neshek pitched for the first time since June 29 and was charged with two runs after giving up three hits in an inning. Jerry Blevins' regression continued as he lasted all of one-third of an inning -- before getting that out, he had not retired any of the previous five hitters he had faced -- before giving way to the Sonny Gray Show. Dan Otero pitched a scoreless inning, as did Jesse Chavez.
At the plate
The A's had just five hits, all singles, with three by lead-off man Coco Crisp. Jed Lowrie and Chris Young had the other hits. Oakland left five runners on base and was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position.
In the field
A throwing error by rookie second baseman Grant Green in the third inning proved especially costly. In attempting to turn a 6-4-3 double play with none out and already trailing 2-0, Green's throw to first baseman Nate Freiman sailed wide to his right and Russell Martin advanced to second base. Martin would score one batter later on a Pedro Alvarez single to right field.
The Pirates announced a crowd of 23,474 at soaking wet PNC Park, most of whom could be heard making like "Nature Boy" Ric Flair with countless "Wooooooos!"
Tweet o' da game
sneaky cheese. -- @Eugene954, on the first big league pitch ever thrown by Sonny Gray, a 96-mph heater down the pipe.
After an off-day Thursday, Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.04 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener against Boston and right-hander John Lackey (6-6, 2.80) at the O.co Coliseum Friday. While Parker is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA against the Red Sox in two career starts, Lackey, the former Angels starter, is 18-6 with a 2.91 ERA against the A's in 33 career starts.