Sonny Gray’s Rocky First Inning

I walked from the theatre over to the bus stop for the 1 bus, which I took to go out towards the Coliseum.  I talked with one rider who asked me about the Rickey Henderson jersey giveaway coming up on July 15.  I sat down under the shade of a tree and listened to the news.  I heard that Daniel Day-Lewis was retiring from the movies.  I thought back to his appearance in “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”  The gates opened early so that we could see batting practice.  A bonus for us on this day was that the prospect Austin Beck was out there taking swings, and he looked quite good.  After batting practice ended, I headed to the food trucks and bought a teriyaki chicken plate, which was actually in a container, and a cookies and cream ice.  A breeze was making the hot temperature tolerable, and the night would actually get cool before it was over.  I watched a woman near me singing along to “Proud Mary.”  Before the A’s took the field, we heard Steve Miller’s “Rock ‘N Me.”  Sonny Gray had what Ken Korach on the radio called a rocky first inning against the Astros.  He went to a 3-1 to the game’s first batter before giving up a home run.  A walk and a single put him into more trouble before he got a double play ground ball.  He went to a 2-2 count to the next hitter, but then gave up a double for another run.  Gray then allowed a discouraging walk on four pitches, went to 0-2 on the next batter, and then gave up a double for a third run.  The eighth hatter in the inning came up, and Gray surrendered a single for two more runs.  After a stolen base, an error by Ryon Healy prolonged the torture of the inning.  The tenth batter of the inning was finally the last, with a ground ball going to Healy.  Sonny Gray had thrown 38 pitches in the inning, and his ERA had increased from 4.44 to 5.20.  The A’s managed to answer the Houston runs with what Korach called a mini-statement.  With two outs, Jed Lowrie singled and Khris Davis doubled for one run.  Gray pulled himself together and managed to get through four scoreless innings, although none of them was a clean inning.  He gave up a walk with two outs in the second, hit a batter with a pitch with two outs in the third, allowed a single with one out in the fourth, and allowed a single and a walk in fifth.  He lowered his ERA from 5.20 to 4.84 over that stretch.  We heard “Born to Be Wild” before the A’s came to bat in the third inning.  On the radio, Eric Kubota talked about Austin Beck.  We heard Bob Melvin talk about this nervousness in working out in front of the Baltimore Orioles at the Coliseum years ago.  The A’s got a bit closer to the Astros with a Chad Pinder home run.  The A’s were chipping away, in Korach’s words.  In the fourth inning, Khris Davis singled and Yonder Alonso doubled for a promising start.  Ryon Healy hit the ball well, but the line drive went for an out, although it drove in another run, making the score 5-3.  Stephen Vogt drew a walk on four pitches, but Rajai Davis hit into a 4-6-3 double play.  In the fifth inning, Jaycob Brugman walked with one out and reached second base on a passed ball, but then Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie both struck out.  John Axford pitched the top of the sixth inning and allowed only a double with one out.  In the bottom of the inning, Khris Davis doubled.  He went to third base on a ground ball out to first.  With a good chance to drive in a run, Healy struck out.  The low, sinking outside pitch is a weakness for him.  Josh Phegley pinch-hit for Vogt and hit the ball to left field for the third out.  Daniel Coulombe pitched the top of the seventh inning, and he had a clean inning, lowering his ERA from 1.93 to 1.85.  Korach praised the job that he was doing this season.  In the bottom of the ending, Rajai Davis doubled.  Adam Rosales annoyingly made an out that didn’t advance the runner.  Brugman singled to bring the A’s to within one run at 5-4.  Pinder and Lowrie made outs.  Liam Hendriks pitched the top of the eighth inning and got off to a bad start by giving up a double and a walk.  A fly ball to center and a strikeout got him close to escaping the inning, but then he allowed a walk to load the bases and gave up a first-pitch single that suddenly made the score 7-4.  Ray Fosse called the hit a dagger.  A line drive to right field was the third out, too late.  In the bottom of the inning, Khris Davis, Yonder Alonso, and Ryon Healy all struck out against the former A’s pitcher Luke Gregerson.  Michael Brady made his debut for the A’s in taking the mound for the top of the ninth inning.  Unfortunately, the first batter he faced hit a home run, making the score 8-4.  Brady’s ERA went from infinity to 27.00 with a call that Rosales caught.  It went down to 13.50 with a foul ball that Alonso caught.  It remained at 13.50 when Brady hit the next batter with a pitch.  It went down to 9.00 when Phegley threw out the runner trying to steal second base.  In the bottom of the ninth inning, Phegley doubled.  Rajai Davis hit the ball hard to the left side for what looked for a moment like a double, but it was a line drive out.  Adam Rosales struck out.  He was 0-for-4 on the night.  Brugman had the count at 3-2 when he struck out, but it was a wild pitch that allowed him to reach first base.  Pinder also got to a 3-2 count, and like Rajai Davis, he hit the ball hard, but it was also a line drive out, and this one ended the game.  The Houston Astros again demonstrated their superiority.  The game started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 66 degrees, and it ended at 10:35.  The attendance was 15,362.  I was tired and wanted to go home.  I didn’t especially want to hear news about special election results.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 21, the Rolling Stones were banned from New York hotels in 1966.  In 1969, Pete Townsend was detained in Memphis for using the slang term “bomb.”  In 1977, the Martin Scorsese film “New York, New York” was released.  In 1991, “Dying Young,” starring Julia Roberts, was released.  In 2001 Carroll O’Connor died of a heart attack at age 76.

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