DETROIT (AP) No matter how badly things are going for the Oakland Athletics, they have a good feeling every fifth day.
That's when Sonny Gray takes the mound, and they usually have their best shot at a win. After beating the Detroit Tigers 6-1 on Wednesday night, the A's are 7-5 when Gray starts. While that's not fantastic, they are 15-28 when he doesn't.
''We think we've got a good chance to win when he's on the mound, and that's been true since he got here,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ''It says a lot to see the kind of confidence he gives you when he's out there.''
Gray (7-2) had the Tigers beating the ball into the ground all game, with Oakland's outfielders only making one putout while he was on the mound. He struck out seven and allowed two singles and a walk.
''I had a really good fastball tonight - both two-seam and four-seam - and that was getting a lot of weak contact,'' he said. ''That was the goal against so many right-handed hitters - get the sinker working and get as many ground balls as I could.''
Anibal Sanchez (3-7) allowed four runs, five hits and four walks in seven innings. After striking out 20 batters in his previous two starts, he only had one against Oakland.
''What can I say? I thought it was a really good game,'' he said. ''I'm going to give credit to the other pitcher. Sonny threw a really good ball game and I just missed a couple pitches.''
In the second inning, Oakland loaded the bases on a double and two walks, and Billy Burns took an inside pitch the other way just inside the line for a three-run triple. Sanchez, though, wasn't going to play ''what if'' about the ball's landing point.
''I say that's baseball,'' he said. ''If I don't give up two walks and a hit, it is a different story.''
The A's made it 4-0 in the third on Josh Reddick's eighth homer. Sanchez - the toughest starter to homer against in 2013-14 - is on pace to allow 42 home runs this season. That would tie Denny McLain's franchise record, set in 1966.
In the meantime, the Tigers couldn't get anything going against Gray and showed signs of frustration. After Anthony Gose struck out to end the third, he threw a warm-up ball into the ivy above the fence in center field. The ball fell back onto the field, so Gose fired it out of the stadium and into an adjoining parking lot.
''The effort is there and the talent is there,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''You have to believe that over 162 games in six months, it is going to come out.''
Yoenis Cespedes ended his former teammate's no-hit bid with a two-out single in the fourth, but the Tigers didn't get their second hit until Miguel Cabrera led off the seventh with a single.
Brett Lawrie gave the A's a five-run lead with a 420-foot RBI double in the eighth, and Stephen Vogt finished the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Cabrera got Detroit on the board with an RBI double off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth.
Athletics: Oakland has nine players on the DL, and has had at least that many for the last two weeks. The A's have had seven or more players disabled all season, and currently have four on the 60-day DL.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander is scheduled to make his second rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Toledo. Verlander, who has missed the entire season, will be wearing a special Jurassic Park-themed jersey for the game, thanks to a Toledo promotion.
The teams finish the three-game series with Shane Greene (4-4, 5.19) facing Oakland's Jesse Hahn (2-5, 3.77). In Greene's last start, he became the first pitcher in MLB history to allow five homers in an outing of less than two innings. Hahn pitched his first career shutout on May 25 against the Tigers.