Sonny Gray’s Elusive Groove

I did my laundry and went out to buy some groceries.  I fell asleep and awoke to see two animated episodes of Love, American Style, called “Love and the Old-Fashioned Father” and “Love and the Private Eye.”  I took the 6 bus into downtown Oakland.  It took a detour because of a protest march in the street.  I just wanted to transfer to the 1 bus and head out to the Coliseum.  I was glad that I didn’t have to wait for very long.  I got to my seat and listened to the radio.  The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir sang the national anthem.  Sonny Gray was the starting pitcher for the A’s, and he didn’t look like Sonny Gray we were hoping to see.  He gave up a single to the first batter of the game.  The runner moved to third on two ground ball outs.  With a chance to get out of the inning, Gray allowed another hit, so the Rays scored first.  In the second inning, Gray gave up a home run with two outs.  It felt like a sign of big trouble.  The A’s got back into the game in the bottom of the inning.  Danny Valencia singled, and with one out, Billy Butler singled.  Stephen Vogt made an out, but Jake Smolinski swung at the first pitch and the ball bounced off the top of the outfield wall for a home run and a 3-2 lead for the A’s.  However, the A’s offense would go quiet with eleven consecutive outs.  Gray did get the shutdown inning in the third with three consecutive strikeouts.  However, this would be the only inning in which he didn’t allow any runs among the five innings he pitched.  In the fourth inning, Gray gave up a home run, tying the score at 3-3.  He got three consecutive outs, but he would begin the fifth inning by giving up five consecutive hits.  One ground ball hit second base and went for a double.  It was frustrating to see Jed Lowrie not get to some of the balls hit his way during this game.  Things could have been worse if the runner hadn’t been caught between first and second after the fifth hit.  A fly ball hit near the left field foul line went for a sacrifice and a 7-3 lead for the Rays.  Sonny Gray managed a strikeout to end the inning, but that was the end of his night.  He had given up seven runs and nine hits.  Liam Hendriks would replace Gray in the sixth inning, and he pitched a clean inning.  Zach Neal entered the game in the top of the seventh inning, and he would also do a good job, facing ten batters and getting nine of them out, giving up just one hit and no walks.  Would the A’s be able to make up four runs?  In the sixth inning with one out, Lowrie walked and Reddick singled, but Valencia and Davis both made outs.  After we heard “Dancing in the Street” during the seventh inning stretch, the A’s got only a walk from Smolinski in the bottom of the seventh inning.  The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the eighth inning, so they were still behind by four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Danny Valencia singled and Khris Davis was hit by a pitch, so there was a glimmer of hope, but Yonder Alonso swung at the first pitch into a force play, and Vogt hit a ball to second.  Smolinski struck out to end the game.  The girl behind me cursed the end of the game.  It began at 7:08 with a game time temperature of 66 degrees, and it ended at 9:54.  The attendance was 14,412.  Sonny Gray’s ERA is now 5.49.  Ken Korach on the radio talked a lot about blisters and the possible difference in the baseball this year, leading to the rise in home runs.  I wanted to get home quickly because I was tired and hungry.  I also had to go to work in the morning.  I was able to catch Jimi Hendrix on The Dick Cavett Show.  He was modest about his guitar playing, and he didn’t stick around for very long because he said he wasn’t feeling well.  Some of the people who died on July 22 include John Dillinger (1934), Carl Sandburg (1967), Manuel Puig (1990), Laszlo Kovacs (2007), Estelle Getty (2008), and Dennis Farina (2013).  Today is a birthday for Willem Dafoe (61), S.E. Hinton (68), Albert Brooks (69), Don Henley (69), Danny Glover (70), Bobby Sherman (73), Alex Trebek (76), and Louise Fletcher (82).

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