Before they boarded a bus bound for Cincinnati, Sonny Gray and Stephen Vogt had some unfinished business.
The A’s duo will make their share of memories as they take part in their first All-Star Game, but Sunday turned out pretty special itself. Gray fired his third career shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians that closed out Oakland’s first half on a strong note.
Vogt was behind the plate calling the pitches for Gray’s gem, and his two-run homer in the fourth off Corey Kluber made the difference as the A’s took two out of three at Progressive Field. They arrive at the All-Star break at 41-50, their first losing record at the intermission since they were 39-53 in 2009. They’re also in last place at the break for the first time since that season.
But as they dispersed Sunday, they did so on a high note.
Gray (10-3), who isn’t expected to pitch in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic because he pitched Sunday, was masterful over a 107-pitch performance. He allowed just two hits, struck out six and walked one. That lowered his ERA to an American League-best 2.04 and gave him his 10th victory, a nice mini-milestone to sneak on his pre-All Star break resume.
Afterward, Gray and Vogt were scheduled to ride a bus across the state of Ohio to join the rest of the AL All-Stars in Cincinnati.
Starting pitching report
Gray made things easy on himself, pitching to contact and making sure he’d have a chance to polish off the third complete game of his career. Sixteen of his 27 outs were ia the ground ball.
The All-Star break wound up arriving early for the A’s relief corps.
At the plate
Vogt got robbed on his first-inning drive to right, as David Murphy made a leaping grab over the wall. There wasn’t much Murphy could do in the fourth, when Vogt drove a 1-0 pitch from Corey Kluber for a two-run homer to right. That was the only offense all afternoon. That Vogt provided it was fitting, considering he’s about to participate in his first All-Star Game. But it was also big for Vogt to finish his first half on a strong note. He came into Sunday with just one RBI over his previous 10 games.
This game was billed as a pitcher’s duel, and Kluber (4-10) proved up to the challenge. He allowed just four hits over eight innings, striking out six and walking two.
In the field
Gray kept his infielders busy and the A’s turned in an errorless game behind him.
The A’s will head out their separate ways for the four-day All-Star break. There’s no workout planned for Thursday, but players will gather at the Coliseum earlier than usual Friday for an extended workout before beginning a three-game series that night against the Twins.