The A's saved most of the fireworks for after their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night when fans were treated to a pyrotechnics show.

Such is the luxury when rookie right-hander Sonny Gray is on his game mixing up his pitches hitting his spots and generally having his way with hitters.

Hence the only offense the A's needed came on a Coco Crisp RBI single and solo home run as the A's beat the Rays for the second straight night this time 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 35067 at the Coliseum.

Gray allowed five hits and one walk over 62/3 innings while striking out seven. That qualifies as quite a turnaround from his previous start when he allowed eight hits two walks and six runs in half as many innings pitched.

"He was great again" A's manager Bob Melvin said of Gray who improved to 2-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.57. "In a game like that you had the feeling pretty early on that both guys were going to pitch pretty well and runs might be hard to come by."

The A's moved 1½ games ahead of the Rays for the first wild-card spot. They also remained two games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West.

Gray was making only his fifth major league start Saturday night but he displayed the composure of a seasoned veteran.

Such makeup isn't uncommon among A's pitchers Crisp said. In fact he expects the kind of maturity Gray shows every time he pitches.

"Oakland does a good job of grooming their young guys getting them in the right mind-set to come up here" Crisp said. "Since I've been here everybody who has come up has had a fantastic outlook on how to play the game. He's just another product of a good farm system."

Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt is a product of the Rays having been selected in the 12th round of the 2007 draft. He joined the A's earlier this season.

On Saturday Vogt started against his former team and delivered a leadoff triple in the sixth. Crisp singled home Vogt one batter later for the game's first run.