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The Grand Slam: Sonny Gray looks masterful in three-hit shutout of Rangers

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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The way Sonny Gray pitched Monday night, it looked like this type of thing  — you know, total dominance — was old hat to the 24-year-old Oakland Athletics' ace-in-the-making.

Gray threw a three-hit shutout in efficient fashion, tossing 108 pitches en route to a 4-0 Oakland win over the division rival Texas Rangers. It was Gray's first career shutout, it came in only his 16th regular season start, and against Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

The A's had the game in their hand in the later innings, so the real question was whether Gray would pull off the shutout. After the game, he told reporters that he avoided manager Bob Melvin in the dugout between the eighth and ninth innings, hoping not to get pulled. Melvin said he was eyeing a 110-pitch limit for Gray, but didn't share that with his young pitcher to keep him calm. Gray went out and shut down the Rangers on nine pitches in the ninth, making everybody's job easier.

Gray's curveball was looking especially filthy Monday. As pointed out by Eye On Baseball, here's an instance where Gray completely fooled Adrian Beltre.

Gray's ERA went down to 1.76 after the win. He's pitched 41 innings this season, finishing six innings in each of his six starts.

ON THE FLIP SIDE: YU DARVISH
Usually if Yu Darvish is pitching and we're talking about a dominating performance, it's him we're talking about. But on Monday, Darvish continued to struggle against Oakland. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and throwing 83 pitches.

In his MLB career, Darvish is 1-7 against the A's in nine starts. After the game, he told MLB.com:

"They have a really good game plan against me," Darvish said. "As a starting pitcher you always want to go deeper in the game. Obviously I was disappointed to only throw three-plus innings, but this is something that happens to any pitcher. What happened, happened, so I just don't want to dwell on it and do much better in the next outing."

THE BREWERS TOP THE CARDINALS IN 12: It took 12 innings and a go-ahead triple from Khris Davis, but the Milwaukee Brewers won another one, improving to an MLB best 19-7. This 5-3 victory came against NL Central foes, the St. Louis Cardinals, this year's division favorites.

Michael Wacha and Yovani Gallardo each turned in solid starts, surrendering three runs by the time they were pulled. The bullpens kept the game locked at three, until the Brewers managed to score two runs in the 12th after a Jonathan Lucroy double, Davis' triple and a sac fly from Mark Reynolds.

There was redemption there, as Davis and Reynolds had seven combined strikeouts before the 12th inning and had left 10 men on base. Eight of those belonged to Davis. Lucky for him, it's the go-ahead triple people will remember.

TULO EN FUEGO
Troy Tulowitzki continued his hot start of the season in the Colorado Rockies' 8-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night. Tulo went 3-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored. And the Rockies were on the road, so you can't attribute this one to the Coors Field elevation.

You needn't explain away any of Tulo's early-season prowess anyway. He's simply hitting the ball beautifully these days. His .366 average is second in MLB, behind teammate Charlie Blackmon. Tulowitzki's 20 RBIs are fourth best in the NL and his six homers are two behind NL leader Adrian Gonzalez.

For the rest of Monday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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