The Athletics' No. 3 prospect allowed a run on four hits and fanned six over a career-high eight innings as Double-A Midland held on to beat San Antonio, 5-4.
Gray walked one and hit a batter, throwing 62 of his 92 pitches for strikes. The 22-year-old helped himself out by picking off two runners, including Jeudy Valdez, who doubled with one out in the eighth inning. Of the 24 outs Gray recorded, 13 were via the ground ball, something that was a conscious effort on his part.
"Overall, tonight I feel like I was able to throw my fastball where I wanted," Gray said. "I was able to keep it down in the zone which was a big positive. That's something I do in my better games. They were pounding them into the ground, which led to some easier outs for me."
Gray (6-9) was efficient with his pitches early, needing 51 pitches to complete his first five innings. Having faced the Missions five times before, the Tennessee native knew what to expect and planned accordingly.
"As a pitcher, you attack hitters early in the game and see how it's going to work out," Gray said. "Tonight, I was throwing that fastball down early. I faced them a few times this year and they are a team that is going to swing the bat."
The Vanderbilt product had been winless in August, going 0-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five Texas League starts before Wednesday. He last won a game on July 28, when he allowed two runs over six innings against Corpus Christi. Making what may be his last start for the RockHounds, it was important for Gray to go out on a high note.
"It has been a while," Gray said. "It's a good feeling to close the season at Double-A with a win. I know they told me this is going to be last start here.
"Innings are getting up there and you're still able to go out there and compete. It's good any time you go out there and go eight strong innings and you're able to give your team a chance to win."
Gray had hoped to be able to try and earn the first nine-inning complete game of his career, but was lifted in favor of the bullpen. While he was disappointed by that, he understood the rationale behind it.
"I was hoping they would let me finish the game, but it came down to getting some guys in there," he said. "I think every pitcher wants to, but at the same time, you understand you did what you're supposed to do."
Gary Daley followed Gray and allowed three runs on three hits in the ninth for the RockHounds.
Midland's Matt Rizzotti homered and drove in three runs while Josh Horton was 2-for-4 with an RBI.