SEATTLE -- A tired A's team found enough left in the tank to pull out a 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners in the series finale Sunday, getting to the All-Star break with a major league-best 59-36 record.
A little gassed after playing 17 consecutive days, the A's rallied behind 10-game winner Sonny Gray, who held the Mariners to one unearned first-inning run.
Talking before the game, manager Bob Melvin said the club had not been at top form of late, but the A's have little to complain about. They come into the All-Star break with a 1½-game lead in the American League West while being chased by the hottest team in the game, the Angels, who have won 19 of their last 23.
"Before the game, you know how important it is," Gray said. "After losing the first two here and heading into the break, I was going to do my best to help us win."
Gray's numbers -- 10-3, 2.79 ERA -- are such that he could have been an All-Star pick. He isn't, but seven of his teammates flew to Minneapolis on Sunday night for the midseason party.
"I'm not disappointed," Gray said of not being selected. "It would have been nice, sure, but we've got a lot of good, deserving people representing our club. It's nothing bad to dwell on."
The A's left Seattle, scattering for points across the continent. As they did so, they had a chance to dwell on some amazing numbers for a team that lost two of its five starting pitchers in spring training.
Oakland has won more games (59) before the break than any team in franchise history. The A's offense leads the majors in walks, is second in runs scored and has the fourth-fewest strikeouts. Oakland pitching has allowed one run or less in seven of its last 11 games and in 27 of 95 games overall. The team ERA of 3.09 is second-best in the big leagues.
The combination of offensive output and pitching stinginess has led to the A's having a run differential of plus-145, the fourth-best performance by any major league team in that category at the All-Star break dating to 1940. The previous best for any A's club was plus-95 in 1973.
"When you put it into perspective," Melvin said, "overall the numbers suggest we've had a pretty good first half."
Brandon Moss, whose 21st homer provided the third A's run, said the first half saw Oakland have "a lot of guys step up."
Moss wasn't just talking about the 3-4-5 guys in the batting order, Moss, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson, All-Stars all, who combined for 55 homers and 187 RBIs in the first 95 games. He was talking about contributors such as Nick Punto, who capped Sunday's scoring with his second homer in the ninth inning, and newly recalled Andy Parrino, who had a double, a single, a walk and who scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on John Jaso's double. Parrino was playing left field, a position he hadn't played in two years.
"We've had a bunch of guys who have seized their opportunity," Moss said.
In addition to Moss, Cespedes and Donaldson, catcher Derek Norris and pitchers Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija and Sean Doolittle will go to the All-Star game.
While the rest of the club gets the full four days off, Melvin will be watching the game and the Home Run Derby in particular, with a bit of cautious dread. He doesn't want to see either of the A's entrants, defending champ Cespedes or Donaldson, get hurt or even get worn out trying to jack the ball out of Target Field.
"I will follow it," Melvin said. "It makes you a little nervous. I feel good for the guys. I hope they all come back in one piece."
Baltimore (TBA) at A's (Jeff Samardzija 3-8), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA