Sonny Gray’s Ace Performance

I watched a bit of CBS This Morning and the chef segment.  Spike Gjerde’s signature dishes included: Woodberry Kitchen chicken and biscuit, fried oyster chopped salad, roasted asparagus with fish pepper, and Schmierkase dessert.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on April 17, 1976 were “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Show Me the Way,” “Dream Weaver,” “Sweet Love,” “Only Sixteen,” “Boogie Fever,” “Lonely Night (Angel Face),” “Right Back Where We Started From,” “Let Your Love Flow,” and “Disco Lady.”  I left early for the Coliseum because there was supposed to be a rush to get there because of an A’s game and a Warriors game going on at the same time.  The only good thing that happened on Friday night was that I found a quarter as I was leaving the Coliseum.  I got to the season ticket holder line, which was roped off and went up a ramp.  I wished I had brought my book with me.  The batteries in my radio were running low.  I was glad to get inside the stadium and to my seat.  I got my Stephen Vogt jersey that looked like the jersey I had back in 1984.  I actually fell asleep for a while during batting practice.  After losing four consecutive games and five consecutive home games, the A’s needed some sort of a lift, and Sonny Gray was supposed to provide it because he is the ace of the pitching staff.  He wasn’t at his sharpest on this afternoon, and he didn’t get through the seven innings we thought he would pitch.  He gave up a single to the first Royals batter of the game, and after a stolen base, a single put the Royals ahead, 1-0.  Gray struck out two batters to end the inning.  The A’s did come back in the bottom of the inning.  Billy Burns singled, Marcus Semien walked, and Josh Reddick hit a big home run, making the score 3-1.  Gray allowed a single and a walk in the top of the second inning, but he did shut down those Royals.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s managed to extend their lead.  Yonder Alonso and Josh Phegley singled, and then Billy Burns walked to load the bases with no outs.  Semien hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the A’s fourth run.  It was a shame that they didn’t score any more runs in the inning, but the team was showing more life than they had in recent days.  Gray had a clean third inning, but in the fourth inning, he allowed three consecutive hits with two outs, giving the Royals their second run.  He threw more than 30 pitches in the inning, so we knew this was not going to be a complete game for him.  Jed Lowrie committed an error in the fifth inning, and Gray gave up a single, but a big 3-6-1 double play ended the inning.  Gray pitched a clean sixth inning, and he ended his afternoon throwing 114 pitches.  On offense, the A’s got singles to lead off each of the innings from the third through the sixth, but didn’t score in any of those innings.  The hits came from Vogt, Phegley, Valencia, and Alonso, respectively.  In the Big Head race, Rollie Fingers finished comfortably ahead of Dennis Eckersley.  Rickey Henderson looked awfully slow.  John Axford pitched the top of the seventh inning and was impressive with his pitches.  He sure throws hard.  He had a clean inning.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard the Miracles’ “Love Machine.”  Vogt came through with a big home run in the bottom of the inning.  It was a good moment for the fans, because many of them were wearing the Vogt jerseys from the day’s giveaway.  They were also chanting “I believe in Stephen Vogt” all afternoon.  A three-run lead with two innings left seemed pretty comfortable, although that was the situation on Tuesday night against the Angels, and the end result was a painful loss.  Axford got the first two batters out in the top of the eighth inning, but after a single, Bob Melvin brought in Sean Doolittle.  He got the out on a fly ball.  The A’s were unable to do anything in the bottom of the inning, with Burns, Semien, and Reddick making the outs.  Ryan Madson came into the game in the top of the ninth inning.  It was aggravating that he gave up a walk on four pitches, and another error from Jed Lowrie put him in further danger.  Lowrie had a difficult day on defense with his two errors and the ground balls he wasn’t able to reach.  He did, however, start a 4-6-3 double play that brought the home team to within one out of a win.  Madson gave up a hit to the next batter, making the score 5-3.  Lowrie caught a ball hit to him for the last out of the game.  This was only the second win at home for the A’s so far this season.  The fans were happy for one day, especially with the Warriors winning their game.  Most of the Warriors fans had left the premises, so the BART station wasn’t unreasonably crowded on the way out.  The game began at 1:07 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees, and it ended at 4:09.  The attendance was 25,564.  I returned home thirsty and hungry.  I had missed Metallica on Record Store Day, but I did buy “Being John Malkovich” on Criterion Collection Blu-ray for 20 percent off.  I ate a cheeseburger before watching the Johnny Carson rerun.  He had Jim Fowler on the show with his tigers, and Michael Landon followed, talking about tennis and “Little House on the Prairie.”  I watched the Partridge Family episode “The Undergraduate.”  I prefer watching the show on Friday nights, since that fits the memories from my childhood.  The Star Trek episode on Me TV was “Amok Time,” about Spock’s mating rituals.  T’Pring seemed like a very devious woman.  I always wondered if the Vulcans learned about what McCoy did, and if there were any consequences.  I thought that Spock had to return to Vulcan go through these rituals again.  The planet Vulcan looked like a cheap movie set.  Spock showed a lot of emotion in this episode.  This was the first episode of the second season of the series.  “King Kong vs. Godzilla” was the Svengoolie movie of the night, but I didn’t want to watch it.  Some of the people who died on April 17 include Benjamin Franklin (1790), Eddie Cochran (1960), Dick Shawn (1987), Linda McCartney (1998), Kitty Carlisle (2007), Danny Federici (2008), Michael Sarrazin (2011), and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2014).  Today is a birthday for Olivia Hussey (65).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 17, Oscars in 1961 went to “The Apartment” for Best Picture, Billy Wilder for Best Director, Elizabeth Taylor for Best Actress in “Butterfield 8,” and Shirley Jones for Best Supporting Actress for “Elmer Gantry.”  In 1964, the Rolling Stones’ first album was released in the UK.  In 1970, the Paul McCartney album “McCartney” was released.  In 1971, Three Dog Night had the Number One single “Joy to the World.”

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