Sonny Gray’s Ace Form

I watched the Partridge Family episode “Morning Becomes Electric.”  Laurie talked about the food they had left, like rocky road ice cream, but I didn’t see her eat anything.  I didn’t think the melted ice cream they had in their bowls was rocky road.  I went out to work for five hours, and then I returned home to eat a salad and to make an appointment with the optometry clinic next week.  I walked to the BART station to make my way to the Coliseum.  I noticed food trucks parked in the parking lot instead of the plaza, and a long line of fans with dogs.  It was Bark at the Park night.  It was still pretty warm, so I sat in the shade until the gates opened.  As we entered, we received cards with a Yonder Alonso picture on it.  I took a look in the team store.  They still had Fourth of July shirts and Yonder Alonso All-Star shirts.  I passed on a hot dog and just went to my seat.  The crew set up fencing on the outfield warning track so that the fans with dogs could have their parade.  We heard songs like “Hound Dog” and “Black Dog” before the game started.  I had to stop and think a little about the connection with dogs that “Roll Over Beethoven” had.  Sonny Gray would pitch a great six innings for the A’s, lowering his ERA from 4.00 to 3.72 by giving up no runs.  He allowed only two hits, but the first of the hits was due in part to Marcus Semien at shortstop.  Gray allowed a walk to the third batter of the game, who would later reach base in the sixth inning on an error by Alonso.  That was all that happened for the Indians through those first six innings.  Gray had three clean innings, and he made two good defensive plays in the second inning.  He did throw 100 pitches, a high number for six innings.  Neither team had a hit through the first two innings, but the A’s got two two-out walks in the second inning.  On This Date in MLB History, we saw a highlight of Josh Hamilton hitting 28 home runs in the 2008 All-Star home run derby.  The A’s broke through in the third inning when Rajai Davis singled, followed by a double from Matt Joyce.  Rajai scored on the double, although the play at home plate was pretty close.  Joyce took third base on the throw, and he scored on Marcus Semien’s sacrifice fly.  After a Simba Cam segment which gave us the sight of a lot of dog owners holding their pets up in the air, Rajai Davis started off the bottom of the fifth inning with a home run that made the score 3-0.  After Joyce and Semien struck out, Yonder Alonso hit a home run, pushing the score to 4-0.  In the Big Head race, Dennis Eckersley outran Rickey Henderson down the stretch for a win.  Rollie Fingers looked shorter than usual.  Ryan Madson replaced Gray for the top of the seventh inning, and he went to a 3-2 count to the first two batters before striking them out.  The mother sitting behind me erroneously told her son that a 3-2 count was a full house, mixing the language of poker with baseball.  Madson gave up a single before getting a third strikeout.  Ken Korach on the radio was impressed at Madson’s ability to throw pitches at 96 mph at this stage of his career.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.”  Matt Chapman had been struggling with a batting average of .132, and he struck out in his first two times at bat, but he started off the bottom of the seventh inning with a strong hit that bounced off the wall away from the outfielders for a triple.  Rajai struck out, and after a pitching change, Joyce walked.  The Indians went with another pitching change, and Semien struck out.  On a wild pitch, Chapman rather boldly ran and dived to home plate, scoring a run ahead of the catcher’s throw to the pitcher.  Joyce went to second base on the play.  Alonso, who was batting, hit a foul ball that the first baseman couldn’t catch.  The error gave Alonso a second chance, but he couldn’t take advantage of it, as he hit another fly ball to nearly the same place for the third out.  Sean Doolittle pitched a good eighth inning with two strikeouts and a ground ball to third base.  The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning.  Khris Davis struck out for the third time, going 0-for-4 in the game.  Jed Lowrie struck out for the second, and he was also 0-for-4.  Ryon Healy grounded out for the third game.  He was 0-for-3, drawing a walk in the second inning.  Santiago Casilla went out to the mound for the top of the ninth inning.  He has made Bob Melvin and the fans nervous with some of his innings, but no one thought that he would blow a five-run lead on this night.  Matt Chapman caught a fly ball for the first out, although he nearly had a bad collision with Marcus Semien on the play.  After a strikeout, Casilla went to a 3-2 count before giving up a double.  Ken Korach discussion of a shutout looked like it was premature for a moment, but Casilla got a ground out to Semien to end the game.  The game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees, and it ended at 9:55.  The attendance was 19,870.  Many of those fans were in the plaza outfield sections with their dogs.  The A’s record on Bark at the Park nights was 10-2.  I listened to the postgame radio show.  Dallas Braden spoke quickly, making comments on Sonny Gray’s pitching.  I thought about getting a slice of pizza, but thought the better of it and just went home and ate a couple of oranges before going to sleep.  Some of the people who died on July 15 include Anton Chekhov (1904), Paul Gallico (1976), Margaret Lockwood (1990), Bert Convy (1991), and Celeste Holm (2012).  Today is a birthday for Forest Whitaker (56), Ariana Huffington (67), Linda Ronstadt (71), and Millie Jackson (73).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 15, Elton John reached Number One on the album chart with “Honky Chateau” in 1972.  In 1983, “Staying Alive” was released.  In 1988, “A Fish Called Wanda,” starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline, was released.  In 1994, “True Lies,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, was released.

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