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Athletics, Gray defeat White Sox 2-1

Carlos Rodon, right, waits for the ball from catcher Alex Avila during the first inning Wednesday night. AP

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland A’s nicked left-hander Carlos Rodon for a run in each of the first two innings, and with ace right-hander Sonny Gray making his delayed debut, it was just enough for 2-1 victory over the White Sox Wednesday night.

The Sox, looking to start the season at 3-0, had a tough order even though Gray was still feeling the effects of the flu that caused him to be scratched from starting Opening Day. He held the Sox to a run on three hits over seven innings.

“He’s a [darn] good pitcher,” said Sox catcher Alex Avila, who had one of the hits against Gray, a single. “I asked him, ‘How are you feeling?’ And he said, ‘Not too good.’ It didn’t seem that way.”

Rodon allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings.

“He looked great,” Avila said. “He was effectively wild. At times he didn’t have the best command but was able to make enough pitches and get enough strikes to where they were still swinging. He had a real good two-seamer today and was able to get some swings and misses with and ground balls, too.”

Jed Lowrie collected his fifth RBI of the series for A’s, driving in a run in the first inning with a sacrifice fly.

“I told him at the end of the game, ‘You just hit everything, don’t you?’ ” Rodon said. “He hit every pitch. (He said), ‘I don’t know what to tell you,’ and he smiled at me. I was like ‘gosh.’ He was on fire”

In the second inning, Mark Canha homered off Rodon to right to make it 2-0.

The Sox cut the lead in half in the third when Austin Jackson doubled into the right field corner, advanced to third on Adam Eaton’s ground out to second base and scored on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly to left.

Adam Eaton, whose two hits raise his series total to seven, beat out in infield single leading off the eighth against John Axford. But Rollins, on a grounder hit at shifting shortstop Marcus Semien near the bag at second, hit into a double play.

With Ryan Madson pitching the ninth for the A’s, Melky Cabrera led off with a single, his first hit of the series. But Avisail Garcia hit into a fielder’s choice, Brett Lawrie popped out and Avila struck out to give the A’s their first win.

Ventura said he didn’t consider bunting the runners over in both situations because “on the road you want to try to get a little more than that. You’re looking to win it and we had guys coming up that we liked.”

 

Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray works against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Sonny Gray pitched seven strong innings.  (AP)

 

The Sox take a 2-1 record into the series finale Thursday afternoon with right-hander Mat Latos pitching. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Rodon were all good in their first starts.