Sonny Gray’s Undeserved Loss

I took the buses from Jack London Square to the Coliseum without going home, so I ended up at the stadium far too early.  I sought the shade of a tree and listened to the radio.  I looked through the team store and saw a new sweatshirt and a Game of Thrones T-shirt.  When the gates did opened, someone handed me a Reggie Jackson card, and I headed for the food trucks and bought a brisket plate with rice and salad, and a little later an Italian ice.  I went to my seat and watched the Atlanta Braves taking batting practice.  Marcus Peters threw out the first pitch, and Jordan Bell, the Warriors draft pick, had a seat in the section to my right.  Rabbit Quinn sang the national anthem.  The first eight innings of the game went rather quickly, because there were only two hits, one run, and four walks between the two teams during that time.  Sonny Gray allowed the two hits in the top of the third inning, two doubles for the one run.  He allowed a walk in the fourth inning but got a double play ground ball to get out of that inning.  He got six consecutive outs to start the game, and after the walk, he got fourteen consecutive outs.  Sean Doolittle took the mound in the top of the ninth inning and walked the first hitter, whose batting average was only .225, but had one of the two hits in the game.  Ryon Healy threw to second base for a force play, but after a stolen base, a single made the score 2-0.  Matt Joyce threw to home plate on the play when there wasn’t much chance of throwing out the runner, so now there was a runner at second base with no outs.  A ground out advanced that runner to third base, and another single made the score 3-0.  Jed Lowrie caught a ball for the third out.  What had happened for the Braves pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz, during the eight innings was four walks but no runs and, more dramatically, no hits.  He had thrown four perfect innings before allowing the first walk.  He got four more consecutive outs before allowing two consecutive walks, giving the A’s the chance of tying the game in the sixth inning.  However, he struck out Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie to end that chance.  He got five consecutive outs before allowing a walk to start the eighth inning.  He then struck out Jaycob Brugman and Yonder Alonso, who was pinch-hitting for rookie Franklin Barreto, before getting Matt Joyce to line out for the third out.  He had thrown 110 pitches going to the ninth inning, trying for the no-hitter.  Ken Korach on the radio reminded us that the A’s had not been at the wrong end of a no-hitter since July 13, 1991 against the Baltimore Orioles.  The first hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning was Matt Olson.  He got the count to 3-2 and then took a strong swing, and the result was a home run.  The crowd cheered loudly.  It was too bad that Sean Doolittle had given up the two runs in the top of the inning.  The Braves made a pitching change, and Lowrie doubled, giving the A’s three chances with the tying run at home plate.  Khris Davis struck out, and Ryon Healy followed with another strikeout.  Bruce Maxwell was the last chance, and he was called out on strikes to end the game.  On This Date in MLB History, we saw Eddie Murray getting his 3000th hit in 1995.  We saw the Big Heads early in the game sitting in the third deck, and in their race, Dennis Eckersley tripped Rollie Fingers, paving the way for Rickey Henderson to win.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”  The game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 63 degrees, and it ended at 9:52.  The attendance was 19,286.  After a pretty good stretch of road games at 4-2, it was frustrating to see the team waste a good performance from Sonny Gray.  Ken Korach and the radio crew told us that scouts from other teams were looking at A’s players for possible trades.  Olson gave us a dramatic moment.  I was in a hurry to get home.  At the BART station platform, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said hello.  It was one of the stadium employees who recognized me from the bus rides.  At my door I saw a FedEx package waiting for me.  It was a scarf for A’s season ticket holders.  The 20-year-season ticket holders got a yellow scarf, and the others got a green scarf.  I was too tired to watch Stephen Colbert or Match Game, so I went to bed.  I thought about the rent and the passing of the months.

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