Sonny Gray has only made 13 big league starts. three of them this year.
He commands the game as if he’d made 130.
Once again the A’s 24-year-old was the best pitcher on the field Saturday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, giving up a first-inning run then almost nothing else in what Gray called “my best game of the year.’’
What he didn’t say was “so far.’’
A’s manager Bob Melvin all but did that for him.
“We still have not seen his best game yet,’’ Melvin said. “At times he gets a little erratic. On the other hand sometimes his fastball has a mind of its own.’’
That’s Melvin’s way of saying there is plenty of movement in the mid-90-mph fastball that Gray unleashes.
Gray’s teammates are little in awe of what he can do.
“He knows how to pitch,’’ reliever Luke Gregerson said. Gregerson got the last two outs of the game in relief of Sean Doolittle (four batters, four outs) to save Gray’s second win of the season. “He doesn’t panic.
“He understands that if he makes good pitches most of the time, he’ll get out of it.’’
Back-to-back singles got Gray off to a somewhat stilted start, and a grounder off the bat of Robinson Cano gave the A’s their only run in the first inning. After that Gray went on a streak where he retired 11 batters in succession.
He would wind up allowing just three more hits in the seven innings he pitched.
“Sonny was great tonight,’’ third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “His velo (velocity was up to the mid-90s, and there weren’t a lot of comfortable swings against him.’’
Gray, who has faced and beaten the Mariners twice in the last week, said he attacked with more fastballs this time around, that last week’s win in Oakland “was a completely different approach.’’