Athletics-Rangers Preview

Sonny Gray got his season off to a stellar start by outpitching Yovani Gallardo on opening day.

That was at night and things have been difficult in day games for his Oakland Athletics.

Gray will try to improve to 4-0 in Arlington and get the best of Gallardo and the Texas Rangers once again Sunday while helping the Athletics earn their first day victory.

Gray (3-0, 1.98 ERA) took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in an 8-0 home victory over Texas on April 6. He allowed two baserunners before Ryan Rua led off the eighth with a single for the only hit off Gray.

The right-hander helped spoil the Rangers debut of Gallardo (2-3, 4.05), who was charged with four runs and two wild pitches over four-plus innings to fall to 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA in two career starts versus the Athletics.

Gray undoubtedly enjoys pitching at Globe Life Park, the only stadium where he has made multiple starts and won them all. His two career complete games were shutouts in Arlington last season, and he yielded one run over 6 2-3 innings in his other start there.

It’s not surprising that Rangers hitters have some ghastly averages against Gray, particularly Leonys Martin (.100), Adrian Beltre (.111), Rougned Odor (.143) and Robinson Chirinos (.077), while Prince Fielder is 0 for 9. Rua has enjoyed the most success with four hits in nine at-bats, though he is on the disabled list.

A poor offensive effort by the Rangers would put more pressure on Gallardo, who has allowed eight runs over 11 innings in losing consecutive starts. The right-hander has faced Ike Davis more than any Oakland hitter, holding the slugger hitless in 10 at-bats with five walks and four strikeouts.

Gray yielded two runs in eight innings to earn Tuesday’s 6-2 home victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Oakland (10-15) is 0-8 in day games – the only winless team in the majors. Nineteen of its 20 homers have come at night.

These teams have split the first two in a three-game series that has featured two big innings for the Athletics. Oakland scored seven runs in the eighth inning to rally for Friday’s 7-5 victory and plated six in the seventh inning Saturday to take a four-run lead before the Rangers rallied for an 8-7, 10-inning win.

”At the end of the day,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, ”we had a 7-3 lead and we couldn’t hold it.”

Shin-Soo Choo and Kyle Blanks each homered and combined for six hits and six RBIs as Texas (8-15) ended a four-game slide. Choo hit a tying three-run homer in the seventh inning and scored the winning run in the 10th on Odor’s single.

Adrian Beltre is 10 for 29 during a seven-game hitting streak, going 4 for 9 in this series. Fielder is 4 for 8 in the series with three runs scored.

Oakland wasted a huge effort Saturday from Josh Reddick, who went 3 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs. Reddick is 17 for 34 with 13 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.