Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sonny Gray came within six outs of throwing a no-hitter and the Oakland Athletics cruised to an 8-0 Opening Day win over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
Gray (1-0) was seeking to become the second pitcher in MLB history to toss a no-hitter in the first game of the season, but Ryan Rua broke up the bid with a ground ball through the hole in right to start the eighth inning.
"I just tried to keep focus on making pitches," said Gray. "I'm glad that we could get this first win out of the way."
Cleveland legend and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller threw the lone Opening Day no-hitter for the Indians against the White Sox on April 16, 1940.
The Oakland ace, who ended Texas' 2014 season with a 4-0 shutout, struck out three and walked one batter over eight phenomenal frames.
"You have to credit the guy who has the ball in his hand. It felt like Sonny threw the ball very well tonight," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after his debut with the club.
Stephen Vogt crushed a three-run homer and Ben Zobrist cranked a two-run blast in his first at-bat with the Athletics, who ended an MLB-record streak of 10 consecutive Opening Day losses.
Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo (0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in four-plus innings.
Sam Fuld ripped a triple off the wall in right-center field past a leaping Leonys Martin with one out in the opening frame. Zobrist followed by cranking a slider to right for a two-run blast.
In the fourth, Ike Davis walked and Vogt smacked a one-out double to left to place runners on second and third. Marcus Semien's soft fly ball to center drove in Davis and two batters later, Vogt scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-0 game.
Meanwhile, Gray cruised through five shutout innings, his lone blemish hitting Rougned Odor with a pitch during the third.
"He was on it from pitch one today," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "I said all along he's made for this and (he) showed us why."
The A's threatened with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, but Anthony Bass recovered, getting Brett Lawrie to pop out before striking out Vogt.
With two outs in the sixth, Martin reached second after Zobrist dropped the ball in left field. Elvis Andrus, however, popped out to second and Gray got out of the frame unscathed.
Gray got some help from Eric Sogard for the second out of the seventh, as the second baseman dove and played a tough hop of the grass before throwing Adrian Beltre out at first. Gray then fanned Shin-Soo Choo to end the frame.
Vogt crushed a 3-2 slider down the right-field line and into the crowd for a towering three-run homer in the seventh, then Billy Butler brought home Sogard with an RBI double an inning later to account for the final score.
The A's won their first Opening Day game since a 5-4 decision over Texas on April 5, 2004 ... Zobrist became the 13th Oakland player to homer in his first at-bat with the team ... The Rangers were also shut out on Opening Day in 1972 ... Gray was Oakland's first pitcher to make back-to-back Opening Day starts since Barry Zito in 2005-06 ... Texas has not won its first game of the season on the road since 2003 ... Andrus made a franchise-record seventh straight Opening Day start at shortstop for the Rangers ... The series continues Tuesday as Oakland starter Jesse Hahn will oppose fellow right-hander Colby Lewis.