Gray eager to move on from rocky outing

Gray eager to move on from rocky outing

SEATTLE -- Since his bullpen role increased in July, Jeff Gray has been one of the pleasant discoveries for the Mariners' relief corps this season.

But things went sideways for the 29-year-old Tuesday, when he walked three straight batters and wound up surrendering four runs in a disastrous fifth inning in Seattle's 13-6 loss to the Angels.

Gray, who hadn't allowed a run in his previous four outings, said Wednesday there was only one way to deal with that miserable memory.

"You have to throw that one in the trash," he said. "I can't do anything about it. I need to think about the positives I have done and go back to that. That's a lot easier said than done, but it's over with and I'll keep going."

Gray, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox in mid-May, has impressed the Mariners with a mid-90s fastball and -- until Tuesday -- pretty good poise in difficult situations.

"We have seen good outings out of him," pitching coach Carl Willis said. "He's come in and picked us up on more than one occasion."

But Willis felt Gray got away from challenging hitters against the Angels and pitched defensively.

"The stuff is there. He's got a really, really good arm," Willis said. "But he just has to have a more aggressive, positive approach in terms of how he approaches hitters."

Gray inherited two runners with no outs from young starter Anthony Vasquez and immediately walked Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells and Mike Trout before later giving up doubles to Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos.

"When I first came out there I couldn't get that first strike and that's usually where I'm pretty solid," Gray said. "I just was having a lot of trouble with my first strike, the ball was sinking out of the zone and I couldn't get them to bite.

"Bottom line, it just wasn't very good pitching. It was one of those days."

Gray just hopes the one outing doesn't take away from what he's built in a season in which he's posted a 4.39 ERA in 41 innings and become something of a veteran presence in a bullpen that includes three rookies.

"It's been a good year for me," he said. "I've enjoyed being part of this bullpen and helping [Brandon] League and [Jamey] Wright and back when we had [David] Pauley and [Chris] Ray.

"I've had a solid year and been able to maintain it. Hopefully this doesn't push me aside and I keep it going and finish strong."