Warning: I was aiming for 80 Green Day puns in this piece, In The End. Sorry, but I have No Pride and you're Stuck With Me on this one.
The opening game of this series featured what most people thought would be the premier pitching matchup, with David Price facing off against Jarrod Parker. With two of the hottest pitchers in the American League, it turned out that it was almost 2000 Light Years Away from the one tonight. Sonny Gray and Alex Cobb faced off, and it would be Cobb who was the Fashion Victim (though neither was a Chump). The two runs scored off of him would be a lead the A's would Hold On to, and crown Gray King For A Day.
Both pitchers were lights out early on, allowing a Minority of baserunners. Gray would strike out 5 of the first 6 batters he faced, showing that the Basket Case of an outing he had his last time out was more of a fluke than anything. Cobb actually did the same, matching Gray's 2nd inning, where both struck out the side. Both traded zeros on the scoreboard through 5, despite the Nimrod double allowed by Daric Barton. Like a Brat, he let an easy groundball by Jose Lobaton go under his glove, and tripped over his feet doing so. Lobaton would advance on a balk, but would be stranded Waiting there after David DeJesus grounded out to Barton to finish off the inning. Gray would have an uneventful 6th, making a fine play to Reject Evan Longoria's bid for a swinging bunt to the left of the mound, falling backwards to make an underhanded throw to first to end the inning.
The A's first run came in the 6th, as Stephen Vogt hit a triple just out of Wil Myers' reach in right field leading off the inning. Coming Clean, with Coco Crisp coming up, A's fans probably had a good feeling. With Android-like precision, Crisp singled past the drawn-in Rays infield, giving the A's a 1-0 lead, and the fans the Longview of a victory.
Gray would end his night in the 7th, having Scattered 5 hits and one walk, and mostly turning the Rays lineup into Brain Stew. He had quite the Homecoming, actually, getting a standing ovation as he left for his great work. Sean Doolittle came on to finish off the 7th, as A's fans stirred uncomfortably in the seats, some thinking to themselves to Give Me Novacaine, as they ground their teeth in angst when he walked Lobaton. They exhaled, though, as Jennings would flyout to end the inning. He also began the 8th by walking pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez, and then got lucky on Yunel Escobar's high chopper, as Josh Donaldson made a wild throw to second that Eric Sogard somehow corralled with his Geek Stink Breath to keep the force play. Doolittle would then get Ben Zobrist to fly out for the second out, ending his night, but keeping the Panic Song playing softly with one runner still aboard.
After Doolittle was lifted, Bob Melvin came out to make the pitching change, giving the Westbound Sign to bring in Dan Otero. He would send Evan Longoria packing as a Jackass riding along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, as he struck him out on a high fastball. To complicate matters for the Rays, the A's would get a much-needed insurance run in the 8th as well, as Coco Crisp sent a Letterbomb over the right-field wall to make it 2-0. As he was Walking Alone during his home run trot, the fans could smell a victory.
Grant Balfour, the Walking Contradiction, came out for the ninth, and of course it couldn't just be Uno, Dos, Tre. After he got Matt Joyce to flyout to Moss in RF, he grooved a 3-2 fastball to Wil Myers who smashed it off the scoreboard in right for a double. Balfour would then walk James Loney, get Jose Lobaton to lineout to Eric Sogard for the second out, and allow a two-out RBI single to Desmond Jennings. Oh, Dookie, but the A's actually caught a break there. During Jennings' PA, Balfour bounced a pitch up there, and while Myers broke to 3rd immediately, James Loney did not. With runners only at 1st and 3rd, instead of at 2nd and 3rd, Jennings single could have tied the game. Instead, adding to the Rays' Misery, it still left them down by 1. I suppose Nice Guys Finish Last, right Loney? Balfour would get some help again from the next hitter Kelly Johnson, who like an American Idiot, swung at the first pitch. He would groundout, Daric Barton to Grant Balfour covering. Ballgame, folks, and Good Riddance to any worries of a Rays series win.
Well, I Had The Time of My Life writing this, even though there are some Words I Might Have Ate in retrospect. Tomorrow, instead of Church on Sunday (or in addition to?), the A's will begin the final month of the season. I know I'm Having a Blast, but for the A's, the last month could really be Pulling Teeth to take the division. No One Knows the outcome, but it'll definitely be (Hitchin' A) Ride. Gametime is at 1:05, and Nico will have your game thread. Goodnight, Insomniacs, and No Burnouts, please.