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Stephen Vogt, Sonny Gray help A's even series with Tigers

Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray throws a pitch

Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray throws a pitch during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Division Series. (Oct. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

OAKLAND, Calif. - It was an hour after rookie catcher Stephen Vogt had taken a pie to the face and a bucket of Gatorade down his back. Coliseum already was being converted to football for Sunday night's Chargers-Raiders game.

The Athletics were packing and scrambling, headed for a red-eye to Detroit, where Monday, almost too quickly, they will meet the Tigers again.

It will be Jarrod Parker pitching for Oakland against Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 of this American League Division Series. Because of the men who have pitched so far, each team has scored only three runs yet has a win.

After Max Scherzer and the Tigers won, 3-2, Friday night, the A's -- thanks to Vogt's bases-loaded single off Rick Porcello in the bottom of the ninth -- beat Detroit, 1-0, Saturday night. A's rookie righthander Sonny Gray allowed four hits and struck out nine in eight innings.

"You know, Sonny did a heck of a job,'' said the Tigers' Justin Verlander, who did the same, striking out 11 and allowing four hits in seven innings. The A's have struck out 29 times in the series.

Verlander has held the A's scoreless for 22 consecutive postseason innings in 2012 and 2013. It's the longest stretch against the franchise since Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson's 28 straight for the Giants in the 1905 World Series, when the A's were in Philadelphia.

Gray, like Vogt, was at Triple-A Sacramento until early summer.

"My first postseason start was in old Yankee Stadium in 2006,'' Verlander said, relating to Gray. "I kind of remember being really wide-eyed. Sonny was able to use his angst and energy for a positive. A lot of young guys, it works against them. He handled himself like a veteran, and it was impressive.''

Gray, who played at Vanderbilt, faced a first-and-third situation with one out in the fifth. He struck out Austin Jackson and Vogt threw out Jose Iglesias trying to steal second for the double play.

"He came up with a reputation as a good hitter,'' A's general manager Billy Beane said of Vogt. "His catching was secondary. Gray? I almost forgot he was a rookie, like when [Tim] Hudson, [Mark] Mulder and [Barry] Zito were rookies. We got spoiled here.

"Beyond his physical talent, Sonny has a great mental makeup. Before the game, I was working out, as I always do, with Arizona State-Notre Dame on TV, and he walked in and just calmly sat down and watched.''


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