The last time the Oakland A's opened the season 1-0, Tim Hudson started the game for the A's, Chad Bradford earned the win and Eric Byrnes had the game-winning hit. Eleven years later, the A's finally found themselves back in the win column on Opening Day after an 8-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Right-hander Sonny Gray - the only homegrown A's player on the active 25-man roster - carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and breezed to his first win of the year. He completed eight shutout innings, striking out three, walking one and hitting a batter. Gray recorded 10 outs on the ground, receiving plenty of defensive help from his infield. New first baseman Ike Davis had a spectacular day defensively and new third baseman Brett Lawrie made two excellent plays early in the game. Shortstop Marcus Semien also showed good range, while Eric Sogard was his typical solid self at second.
On offense, the A's got a jolt right off the bat when number two hitter Sam Fuld tripled off Rangers' starter Yovani Gallardo. That brought up Ben Zobrist for his first at-bat with the A's. He wasted no time, crushing a two-run homer on a 1-0 pitch to give the A's an early 2-0 cushion.
Oakland tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth when Semien singled in Davis and Stephen Vogt scored on a wild pitch. The game remained 4-0 until the bottom of the seventh, when Vogt put the game out of reach with a three-run homer down the right-field line. Oakland added an eighth run in the bottom of the eighth on Billy Butler's first double as a member of the A's.
Gray was efficient as well as dominant. He needed just 98 pitches to get through eight innings. The A's would have had a difficult decision to make had Ryan Rua not singled to lead-off the eighth, however. Gray's pitch limit was 100 pitches. Instead, with the no-hitter gone, the A's turned to Evan Scribner to close out the game. He struck-out two in a perfect ninth.
Gray tossed a shutout over the Rangers in the final game of the 2014 regular season. He was the A's Opening Day starter last season, as well, and he threw six shutout innings in that game but earned a no-decision.
The A's new faces all had good games. Zobrist added a double to his homerun, although he did have an error in left field. Davis walked twice and shined with the glove, while Lawrie had a hit and a run scored to go along with his solid defense. Semien had an RBI and a couple nice plays, while Butler had a walk and an RBI double.
Vogt, in his first Opening Day start, had a double and a homer and three RBI to go along with the shutout-caught. Sogard, who had a rough first half but hit well in the second half last year, had two hits in four at-bats. Leadoff hitter Craig Gentry was the only A's hitter not to reach base. Oakland had 11 hits and four walks.