SEATTLE (AP) — The consensus afterward was the best from Oakland's Sonny Gray is yet to show.
This after the young right-hander overcame a shaky beginning to shut down Seattle for seven innings, giving up one run and matching his career high with nine strikeouts in the Athletics' 3-1 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.
"We still haven't seen his best game," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "At times he gets a little erratic with where he's throwing his fastball, but a lot of times the ball has a mind of its own, too. It will cut, it will sink, it will do a lot of different things. That's a strength of his too because the hitters never get a read on his fastball."
Gray didn't disagree with his manager's assessment, even if in the bigger picture he's off to a fantastic start. Gray has allowed only two earned runs in three starts this season and earned his second win in a week against Seattle.
Gray (2-0) gave up his only run in the first when Seattle failed to capitalize on having runners at first and third and no outs. Gray stymied the Mariners from there, allowing only singles to Logan Morrison in the fourth and Robinson Cano in the sixth, and a double by Dustin Ackley in the seventh.
Oakland won for the fifth time in six games.
"I definitely felt good tonight and was able to make a lot of pitches but it's still something I have to get better at," Gray said. "I have to prepare better for the early innings and something we're still working with. I have to be able to get into that routine that rhythm early on. We'll work on it, we'll get better at it and we'll see what happens."
Josh Donaldson provided Gray all the offense he needed, lining a 2-0 pitch from Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-2) over the hand-operated scoreboard for a two-run homer in the first inning.
Oakland also got a wacky RBI single in the third from Brandon Moss that scored Coco Crisp, but the A's should have scored more against the erratic Ramirez. In each of his five innings, Ramirez allowed the leadoff batter to reach. He gave up six hits and walked three, but managed to get through five innings, helping save Seattle's bullpen.
"I don't know what happened today," Ramirez said. "The last two starts have been, I don't know, the ball is just running too much now."