ANAHEIM — A healthy Sonny Gray returned to the mound Wednesday night and looked sharp in his one inning of work.
It was a different inning, the fourth to be exact, that did the A’s in during an 8-6 defeat that completed a three-game sweep for the Los Angeles Angels.
The home team sent 14 men to the plate in an eight-run fourth off Ross Detwiler, who took over after Gray threw a scoreless first and exited, as was the plan in his first game since returning from a strained forearm.
The A’s watched a re-run they could have done without. The Angels busted out for seven runs in the fourth inning Tuesday night against Daniel Mengden in an 8-1 victory.
Oakland would make things interesting, getting Khris Davis’ 41st home run in the sixth and then a three-run shot from Marcus Semien in the eighth that closed the gap to 8-6.
The story of the night for the A’s was Gray, who logged a scoreless first with one hit allowed and one strikeout over 18 pitches. His fastball hit 95 miles per hour, and he ended the inning by getting Jefry Marte on a check-swing strikeout with a cutter. Manager Bob Melvin had mentioned a 30-pitch limit for Gray but added that he might not even go that long. Given the right-hander’s sharp form in the first, the A’s had to be content with Gray taking those good vibes into the offseason.
He hadn’t pitched since going on the disabled list following an Aug. 6 start. He’s gradually been working his way back, and the idea was to get him just a taste of big league competition to end the season on, being that his rehab went smoothly.
Starting pitching report
From all visible indications, and judging by the radar gun, Gray appeared 100 percent. He’d said he was looking forward to facing big league hitters again, no matter how brief his outing might be. Kole Calhoun led off the bottom of the first with a single. Mike Trout and C.J. Cron both flied out to right and then Marte went down on a check-swing, the kind of indecision from a hitter that signaled Gray’s stuff was in solid form.
Mike Trout left the game in the eighth after getting hit with a John Axford fastball in the back of the left shoulder. Trout began going toward first but wound up making a U-turn for the dugout. His immediate status wasn’t known.
Detwiler was originally scheduled to start Wednesday before the A’s decided to wedge in Gray to get him one last outing. Calhoun’s two-run homer was the most damaging blow off him in the Angels’ eight-run fourth.
At the plate
Ryon Healy, who played in front of roughly 100 family and friends in the crowd the night before, went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs to raise his average to .313.
In the field
Catcher Bruce Maxwell made a fielding error that allowed one of the runs to score in the fourth, a chain of events that the A’s would just as soon forget.
The crowd was 32,524.
Kendall Graveman (10-11, 4.19) and Ariel Miranda (5-2, 4.10) get things started Thursday in a four-game series between the A’s and Mariners at Safeco Field. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.