Sonny Gray’s Spectacular Start

I heard the news about the death of Merle Haggard.  I saw him once at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in 2011.  Maybe I should break out the CD box set and listen to those songs one more time.  I read about the last days of Debralee Scott’s life and imagined her trip from New York to Florida.  The Match Game rerun from 1978 showed her.  I took the bus early so as to avoid riding with students and commuters.  The inside of the bus was amazingly hot, so I arrived at the Coliseum BART station, I went over to the food cart and bought a bottle of vitamin water before walking around and finding a place to sit in the shade.  I listened to the radio and heard several news reports about Merle Haggard.  I thought about buying a hot dog and a bottle of water, but after browsing through the team store, I just took my seat.  The usher asked me if I had taught any classes earlier in the day.  Sonny Gray was set to pitch the game after his brief illness.  He walked the first White Sox batter of the game, but then got the next three out.  In the bottom of the inning, Billy Burns hit a single, and Khris Davis followed with another single, giving Burns the chance to get to third base.  Jed Lowrie hit a fly ball to right field for his fifth RBI in three games, driving in Burns.  Gray allowed a one-hit walk in the second inning, but then got two strikeouts.  In the bottom of the inning with one out, Mark Canha hit a home run for his first hit of the season and the team’s first home run of the season.  Gray couldn’t come up with the shutdown inning in the third, as he allowed a double to the first batter, who moved to third base on a ground ball, and scored on a fly ball to left field.  Khris Davis’ throw to the infield was weak.  Gray would not allow any more runs over the next four innings.  The fourth inning was a clean inning.  In the fifth inning, Gray allowed a single, but a line drive 4-6 double play got him out of trouble.  He allowed a single and a walk in the sixth inning, but Josh Phegley helped him with the last out.  He gave up a walk with two outs in the seventh inning before getting a ground ball to short with his last pitch of the night.  Meanwhile, on offense, the A’s got a baserunner to second base twice during those same innings.  The Big Head race was a win for Rollie Fingers, and we heard “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” during the seventh inning stretch.  John Axford replaced Gray for the top of the eighth inning.  Axford’s first pitch was a ground ball to Semien, who hesitated slightly in his throw to first base, leading to an infield single.  The play was reviewed on video before being upheld.  Semien made up for his previous play by fielding the ground ball that was hit to him, stepping on second base for one out, and then throwing to first base for the double play.  After giving up another single, Axford got the third out with another ground ball to Semien.  In the bottom of the inning, Danny Valencia drew a walk with one out and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  Coco Crisp, pinch-hitting for Billy Butler, struck out.  Phegley walked.  Canha also struck out, leaving it up to Ryan Madson to maintain a 2-1 lead for a save.  Madson allowed a single to the first batter of the ninth inning, but then Valencia took a ground ball and threw to second for a force play.  The next batter hit a fly ball that Semien caught.  Madson went to a 3-2 count on the next batter before getting a swing and miss to end the game.  The fans were happy with the first win of the season.  However, one fan sitting two rows in front of me got hit in the head with a foul ball.  One of the Warriors, Festus Ezeli, was in the stands, although he left early.  I questioned whether his team would be ready for the Spurs.  The game had started at 7:09 with a game time temperature of 83 degrees, and it ended at 10:03.  Attendance was 16,468.  On the scoreboard, the San Diego Padres lost to the Dodgers in a shutout, so the Padres had not score any runs at all yet during this season.  While leaving the stadium, I noticed a program on the ground and picked it up and put it in my bag.  I didn’t get the chance to say hello to the usher in my old section.  I got home at eleven o’clock and watched the news.  We were looking at cooler weather and rain so soon after such a hot day.  Many of the local sports teams will be playing home games today.  Some of the people who died on April 7 include Henry Ford (1947), Walter Huston (1950), Theda Bara (1955), Jim Thompson (1977), Beatrice Straight (2001), Johnny Hart (2007), and Mike Wallace (2012).  Today is a birthday for Jackie Chan (62), John Oates (67), Francis Ford Coppola (77), and Jerry Brown (78).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 7, the Prince debut album “For You” was released in 1978.  Also in 1978, The Band’s triple album “The Last Waltz” was released.  In 1995, the Disney feature “A Goofy Movie” was released.  In 1998, Tommy Lee pleaded no contest to spousal abuse.  In 2003, Russell Crowe married Danielle Spencer.

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