Gray still in slump with another 'tough' outing

Gray still in slump with another 'tough' outing

OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray's struggles remain ongoing, his ERA climbing to 6.19 following his ninth start of the season Friday.

This is no small sample size anymore, but Gray and those who work closest beside him believe a turnaround is in sight, even after he recorded just 10 outs and allowed five runs (four earned) in an 8-3 loss to the Yankees.

"I've seen a lot of guys go through something like this, and they just kind of sit there and feel sorry for themselves, and he's not doing that," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "He's working and trying to get it back. These last two outings, his stuff has been good, just hasn't gotten the results he's been looking for."

Gray was done in by a five-run fourth inning, unable to wiggle his way out of trouble like he had in each of his first three frames, having stranded five base runners in that span while showing signs of improvement in increased velocity and effective movement.

But he also threw a lot of pitches throughout: 19 in the first, 24 in the second, 27 in the third and 28 just to get one out in the fourth for a total of 98. Only 53 of those pitches were thrown for strikes, as Gray issued four walks and unleashed three wild pitches, one of them scoring a run.

"For a while there it looked like he had things figured out," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They just made him work a little bit. He threw a lot of pitches. He was just missing with some pitches that got his pitch count up. We'll continue to work and try to find it."

"From the get-go I threw a lot of pitches," Gray said. "It kind of caught up with me there in the fourth. They got some big hits and put a few guys on base."

Ronald Torreyes' triple brought in two runs, and Carlos Beltran's second of three doubles on the night -- soaring over the head of center fielder Coco Crisp, who misplayed the ball amid a roaring wind -- plated two more.

Gray's 3 1/3-inning performance marked the third time in his last five starts he's been unable to complete four frames. He has a 10.38 ERA in that span.

"It's tough," he said. "The last couple, obviously, I don't know. It's not something I really expected."

"I think he'll turn it around," Vogt said. "Sonny's too good and too much of a competitor."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.