Well, I know I promised you lots and lots of hits after getting the exact opposite last night, but I'm afraid that didn't happen as planned. However, the A's, even as much as they struggled at the plate today, battled the hell out of this game on a late getaway day when they're due in Toronto for tomorrow's game and back in Oakland for Monday's day game, all without an off-day. Today's stars featured Sonny Gray with a masterful 8 inning, one run run performance, Josh Reddick with the catch that allowed the A's to play on through the ninth, and Yoenis Cespedes who knocked in both of the A's runs today.
Despite getting a single in the very first inning by Josh Donaldson, the A's offense was once again mostly dormant, before the ninth inning, they had exactly one chance to score in today's game. The A's would get a walk to lead off the third, but Eric "It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to" Sogard immediately erased the base-runner with a double play. They wouldn't get another base-runner until the sixth inning, when they got their best chance to score, but much like last night, they just couldn't get the big hit. Crisp singled with two-outs in the sixth and Jaso doubled, but it wasn't quite enough to even send Coco for a chance at the run.
Although the A's left the bases stranded that inning after Donaldson walked, there was something...new and different...about getting that many runners on base at the same time; it hasn't been done in a couple of days for the A's offense, despite all the wins. And it's hard to criticize a team that has won 11 out of 13 games, but the A's squandered a fantastic pitching performance by Sonny Gray, an amazing day at shortstop for Jed Lowrie, and one of Reddick's best plays of the season in today's loss.
Gray traded zeros with Cobb for their eight and almost-seven respective innings, but only an amazing catch by Josh Reddick in the third inning kept the A's from falling behind 3-0 early. Three singles loaded the bases for Myers with two outs, and he hit the ball hard, and right before it careened off the wall for a 3-run double, Reddick caught the ball and smashed into the wall. It's a replay worth seeing (under video on MLB.com from this GameDay).
After the Rays broke through in the seventh inning to lead by the seemingly-insurmountable score of 1-0, the offense made three very boring outs to end the eighth, and the Rays brought their closer in for the ninth. Luckily for the A's at the time, their closer is Grant Balfour.
Jaso greeted Balfour with a single to open the inning, and Donaldson walked to put two on. After Moss struck out, Cespedes doubled in Jaso to tie the game, but the A's just couldn't send Donaldson. He was stranded at third base after Lowrie was intentionally walked by a too-shallow fly ball by Josh Reddick and a fly-out by Callaspo.
This would send the game to the bottom of the ninth, and ultimately into extras, where Dan Otero held his own for the ninth and tenth. A single run in the 11th on a double by Donaldson and a sac fly by Cespedes gave the A's a brief 2-1 lead, Otero started the 11th inning and nearly won the game; he was 1-2 on Jennings for the final out, but he threw two bad balls and had to come in, resulting in the game-tying single.
Enter Luke Gregerson, who promptly gave up all of Otero's runs and then some for the loss as his fifth pitch was hit into the seats for a 3-run homerun. Gregerson has allowed 7 of 11 inherited runners to score; worst % in MLB. It was all but a foregone conclusion once the Rays tied the game.
But it's hard to be too upset. The A's have played--and won--a lot of games lately, and as the trend, they are in each and every game until the very last pitch; this is a team that could win every game. The A's are now on a flight to Toronto, where they will play tomorrow night at 4:07PM. We'll have all your action right here!