At 6-0, Griffin is making a name for himself

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At 6-0, Griffin is making a name for himself

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ANAHEIM -- The nameplate above A.J. Griffin's clubhouse stall in Anaheim is handwritten. The rest are printed. Turns out his name was spelled wrong. An innocent mistake, but it tells a certain story. Griffin wasn't even in Spring Training in Arizona. Manager Bob Melvin admitted he hadn't heard of him as the team began preparations for their 2012 campaign. After going an Oakland-era best 6-0 to start his Major League career it is safe to say everyone will soon know Griffin's name. "He's on my radar now put it that way," Melvin said. "Billy Beane and the front office have done a great job targeting these guys when they are ready to come up and perform." Griffin, a native of Southern California, was at his best against the Angels on Wednesday. With family and friends in attendance he tossed a career-best eight shutout innings on six hits, struck out eight batters and walked none."I had pretty good command of all four of my pitches tonight and I just tried to go after guys and get ahead and put them in leverage situations for me," Griffin said.According to A's baseball information manager Mike Selleck, Griffin is now the only Major League pitcher to since at least 1918 to allow three-or-fewer runs and walk two-or-fewer batters in each of his first 11 career starts. "I just try to detach from that kind of stuff and just go out there and pitch wherever they tell me to pitch," Griffin said. "It's been working out so far and I don't think I'll try and change it right now."The A's have asked him to pitch in Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A, and the Major Leagues this season. He has excelled at all levels. "He's off to a decent start put it that way," Melvin said. "We've seen a lot of good games out of him but against that lineup here at this place that's probably as good as we've seen him." Like any smart pitcher Griffin knows he can't do it without a little help from his friends. Coco Crisp was probably his best friend on Wednesday. Crisp threw out Chris Iannetta as he tried to advance from first to third on a single in the third inning, and made a spectacular highlight reel diving catch to again rob Iannetta in the fifth frame. "I was watching him go after and it and I was like, 'He's kind of closing on this ball. Oh my God I can't believe he caught it,'" Griffin said. "That's pretty impressive. That's one of the best catches I've ever had behind me and I really appreciate it."The rookie pitcher was quick to credit his teammates for his success. A little run support went a long way. The A's took an early lead after Josh Reddick hit a double in the first inning and scored when Erick Aybar made an error on a grounder hit by Cespedes. In the sixth inning Cespedes hit a ball that nobody could get a glove on, crushing his 18th home run of the season. On Tuesday Cespedes snapped a 21-game home run drought. Now he has two in as many days. "Guys are going to go through streaks. I think the oddity is we are used to seeing him drive balls all the time," Melvin said. The A's added some insurance runs in the eighth inning when Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris both hit doubles. Crisp then stepped to the plate and swatted a single to right field driving in Norris to make it a 4-0 game. The Angels only run came on a home run hit by Albert Pujols in the ninth inning off Sean Doolittle. Pujols' homer was his 30th this season, making him first player in MLB history to hit 30 or more homers in his first 12 seasons. The A's are also setting records though. Oakland has now won 12 road games in a row. That ties an Oakland-era record set in 1971. The road success has the A's surging and they are now a season-high 22 games over .500. "Certainly you want to try to build on each win for momentum," Melvin said. "We started it by playing in some tough venues and winning on the road and there's an energy we have on the road now."Clearly it is working. If this keeps up the A's will be well on their way to being a bunch of household names.

Gray strikes out 11, Davis homers in A's 4-1 win over Marlins

Gray strikes out 11, Davis homers in A's 4-1 win over Marlins

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OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray wanted to lighten the mood in the Athletics' clubhouse before the game so he lit a few candles in an adjacent locker, lowered the lights and had peaceful, pan-flute music piped into the overhead speakers.

Then the Oakland ace went out and put the Miami Marlins' offense to sleep with his best outing in two years.

Gray struck out a season-high 11 over seven innings, Khris Davis homered and the A's beat the Marlins 4-1 on Wednesday.

"We were just getting everybody nice and relaxed," Gray said of his pregame routine. "It was a good way to start the day. If we're going to put this thing together here . we're going to have to get everyone together and that's just a little way to do that."

Jed Lowrie matched his career high with four hits including two doubles, and Matt Joyce reached base three times and scored to help the A's earn a split of the two-game interleague series.

Gray (2-1) was dominant while earning his second straight win. The right-hander, who began the season on the disabled list because of a strained lat, retired the first nine batters, struck out the side twice and pitched out of a pair of jams to strand runners at third. Gray walked one and allowed three hits.

The 11 strikeout were one shy of Gray's career-best.

"That's what the really good ones do," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They have a level and they have another level when they need it. We saw everything that makes him who he is today."

Ryan Madson pitched the eighth and Santiago Casilla got the last three outs for his seventh save, getting Tyler Moore to foul out with two runners on base to end the game.

Edinson Volquez (0-7) allowed three runs over six innings and tied the Marlins franchise record for most consecutive losses to open a season. The 33-year-old right-hander has dropped eight straight decisions overall dating to 2016, the longest drought of his career.

"When I signed on here I was hoping to be better than what I am right now," Volquez said. "The longer I'm pitching the way I did tonight, I'm good with it. I think I threw the ball pretty good today. One mistake. I threw a fastball to Davis and the ball keeps going."

The A's won despite three errors. They have 46 this season, most in the majors.

Dee Gordon singled and scored Miami's lone run.

LOWRIE WARMING UP:
Lowrie doubled and scored on Davis' 14th home run of the season, a two-out opposite field shot off Volquez. Lowrie added an RBI double in the fifth then singled in Adam Rosales in the seventh. It was Lowrie's team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the season and extended his modest hitting streak to six games. "Really consistent the whole year," Melvin said of Lowrie, who went 13 for 25 on the homestand. "Physically he feels better than he ever has. Durability-wise he's been out there more. I consistently talk to him about DH, but no, he wants to play."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Marlins: LF Christian Yelich did not play and is day to day after suffering a right hip flexor injury during Tuesday's win.

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso wore a protective wrap around his right wrist and was held out of the lineup after getting hit by a pitch. Melvin expects Alonso to be in the lineup Friday in New York. . RHP Jesse Hahn, who left his start Tuesday with a triceps strain, underwent an MRI test but results were unknown . LHP Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) will throw live batting practice Saturday in extended spring training in Arizona. . RHP Bobby Wahl was placed on the 10-day disabled list with soreness in his shoulder and biceps tendinitis. RHP Zach Neal was called up from Triple-A Nashville.

UP NEXT:
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (2-3) faces the Los Angeles Angels for only the second time in his career Friday in Miami. Straily has failed to make it past the fifth inning in seven of his nine starts this season.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (2-2) pitches against the Yankees on Friday when Oakland begins a three-game series in New York. Kendall is winless in five starts since coming off the disabled list.

A's lineup: Alonso out vs Marlins after getting hit on wrist

A's lineup: Alonso out vs Marlins after getting hit on wrist

A day after getting hit by a pitch on his wrist, Yonder Alonso is not in the lineup as the A's get set to take on the Marlins Wednesday.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) DH
3. Marcell Ozuna (R) CF
4. Justin Bour (L) 1B
5. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
6. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
7. Tyler Moore (R) LF
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
Edinson Volquez -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Matt Joyce (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Ryon Healy (R) 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) LF
8. Josh Phegley (R) C
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Sonny Gray -- RHP