Gray, Lackey square off at Fenway Park
(SportsNetwork.com) - Sonny Gray was brilliant the last time out.
The Oakland Athletics hope he can duplicate his latest performance Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Gray recorded the first shutout of his career in Monday's 4-0 win at Texas, as he scattered three hits, struck out six and walked only one batter. Gray, who lost his previous start to Texas on April 23, pushed his record to 4-1 in six starts and lowered his earned run average from 2.25 to 1.76.
The right-handed Gray finished April with an American League-best 1.79 ERA and has won both of his road starts this season. Gray will face the Red Sox for the first time in his career.
Boston will hand the ball to John Lackey for Sunday's series finale and he has won two consecutive starts since losing back-to-back outings. Lackey ended the slide with eight innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win over the New York Yankees on April 23, then held the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs in eight innings of a 7-4 win on Tuesday.
Lackey has 16 strikeouts in his last two trips to the mound and is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in four home starts already this season. The right-hander has faced Oakland plenty of times throughout his career, going 19-6 with a 2.90 ERA in 34 starts.
The Red Sox set themselves up for a sweep of the A's after Friday's 7-1 win and Saturday afternoon's 6-3 triumph thanks to Jon Lester's stellar outing on the mound, One day after Clay Buchholz shut down Oakland, Lester followed with a career-high 15 strikeouts, two walks and eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball.
"He was locked in from the first pitch," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Chris Capuano had a hiccup in the ninth, allowing three runs -- two earned -- and Koji Uehara was called on to close it out for his seventh save.
Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam for Boston, while David Ortiz and David Ross added solo blasts, all off A's starter Tommy Milone, who went just four-plus innings and permitted six runs.
The Red Sox are 3-2 on an eight-game homestand and will welcome Cincinnati to town for two games starting Tuesday.
Oakland entered this Boston series fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Texas Rangers, and now will try to avoid being swept in Beantown. Milone did no favors for the A's with his shaky performance.
"I'm leaving balls up and over the middle of the plate," said Milone. "I need to do a better job of throwing more quality strikes and keeping the ball low."
The Athletics had a rally fall short in the ninth inning and took advantage of some throwing errors. Jed Lowrie had an RBI in the loss and the A's dropped to 5-4 on a 10-game road trip.
Oakland will return to the bay area for a 10-game stay versus Seattle, Washington and Chicago (White Sox).
Boston split six games with the A's last season.
05/04 10:54:04 ET