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TOR@OAK: Gray fans five, allows one run over seven

If the Giants hope to stay ahead of the curve Tuesday, they'll need to lay off Sonny Gray's.

Gray's curveball was back in its dominant form Thursday against Toronto, as the A's right-hander delivered his best start in more than a month.

"His curveball was disgusting tonight," A's catcher Stephen Vogt said Thursday. "It was back to the Sonny Gray that I've known for the last year and a half. He's got one of the best curveballs in baseball, and he had it tonight."

Gray struck out five and allowed just one run in seven innings against Toronto -- his first outing allowing fewer than two runs since May 22.

Gray had gone 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, then declined to 3-2 with a 4.81 ERA over his last seven. Overall, he's 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA on the year.

His success -- as he displayed Thursday -- could rely on how well his curveball is working.

"That was the idea, to really get that [curveball] going again," Gray said. "I think the last five or six starts it's been OK, but it hasn't been a big factor. We did some things a little different this week and I was able to find that again."

Gray will match up against another starter who is looking to regain his form.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is coming off his worst two starts of the season, allowing nine earned runs and 15 hits in 11 innings in those starts.

One factor that could work in Bumgarner's favor: He's found success on the road, going 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA in nine away starts.

Giants: Slumping Crawford remaining in lineup
Manager Bruce Bochy thinks Brandon Crawford could use a break. He just isn't being afforded the chance to give him one, not with the Giants' weak bench and Crawford's strong defensive play, which helped preserve the team's victory against the Padres on Saturday.

Bochy thinks Crawford's hands have been too high on the bat, and he told his shortstop Sunday that he believes a break would be beneficial.

"He's winning games for us," Bochy said. "We need him in the lineup."

Crawford, who's started 82 of the team's 90 games at shortstop, is just 6-for-his-last-42 (.142) at the plate and has hit .091 (1-for-11) with three walks in the Giants' last four games.

A's: Moss back in lineup as DH
Brandon Moss returned to the A's lineup Monday as the designated hitter for the series opener against the Giants, three days after he sprained his left ankle.

Swelling in the ankle initially did not subside as Moss hoped it would, but an MRI on Sunday revealed no structural damage. Manager Bob Melvin said the lefty slugger was feeling much better Monday.

"Big-time improvements today," Melvin said before the game. "We'll limit him to the DH role today, even though I'm sure he wants to get out on the field."

Moss rolled the ankle over during Friday's game against Toronto while trying to get out of the batter's box on a ground ball.

Vogt's versatility continued to come in handy in Moss' defensive absence -- he recently has seen regular time in right field, and Monday he got his third career start at first base.

Worth noting
• The A's are 8-1 in Interleague Play this season, best in the Majors ahead of the Giants (6-3).

• Six A's players were named to the American League All-Star team Sunday, the franchise's most since 1975.

• The Giants are 35-14 when they hit at least one homer and are 14-26 when they don't. Comments