Well when Sonny Gray surprises you in the first inning and makes you nervous, life just swirls. Such was the case in the first inning when, after 2 walks by Gray, Santana dropped a short fly into left center to load the bases. After giving Sands two balls in a row, Curt Young trotted to the mound. It's unclear whether the pep talk worked. Sands did what he is suppose to do, scoring Chisenhall with a sacrifice RBI to deep center on a 94 mph fastball. Santana then advanced to second on a Wild Pitch by Sonny, but he gets Urshela on an outside fastball that clips the corner. Hm...Should we worry? This really isn't like Sonny.
Not really! We know Sonny. We know how mature he is (not counting his inability to grow facial hair!)...A veteran as a 3rd year MLB pitcher at age 25! Why worry? He's our rock right? I have a colleague who says if Beane trades Sonny in the next three years his life-long commitment to the A's is finished...over...flat-lined. That says it all, to me. We believe in Sonny, including the magnificence that will naturally come with his development. So why worry, right? Right. And he didn't disappoint.
Grant you, it took him until the 5th to get a 1-2-3 inning, but he got there. And he struck out back-to-back batters in the 3rd and snagged strikeouts number 5 and 6 in the 4th inning. Eventually Gray left after 7 innings, 7 strikeouts and a tie score.
The A's bullpen did not disappoint. Otero came in for two pitches and got Aviles to ground into a 5-3 our in the 7th. Fernando Abad, who had not given up a run in 9 innings, gets out number two on Chisenhall's swinging K and sits down Lindor with a 6-3 out. After retiring Brantley and Santana in the 9th, Abad is replaced by Mujica who gives up the first hit since the 6th inning yet follows by retiring Urshela thanks to a calm, albeit bobbling, move by Lawrie to throw him out at first.
Fernando Rodriguez then came in for the 10th having pitched two days prior. Starts well, striking out Perez, yet he follows by walking Bourne who has good speed on the base paths including a season high of 61 stolen bases in 2011. Mike Aviles singled a line drive that deflected off Rodriguez and Sogard was unable to get any runner. Bob Melvin jogged out to question the umpires who conferenced about the play and upheld that both runners were safe. Rodriguez gets out of a runners-on-second-and-third situation by striking out Lindor on a 95 mph fastball. Way to battle Fernando! Exciting times take us to the bottom of the 10th. Feel free to skip ahead to get the details.
As for defense, there were few extraordinary moves throughout the day as Cleveland gave us little opportunity; their contact led to mostly routine plays. That said, in the 2nd and 5th, Semien made great double plays by tagging second and gunning the runners at first. The second of these displayed some fancy footwork. Josh Reddick battled the bullpen home plates and the seated ball boy to snag a foul ball popup at the Cleveland bullpen bench; this, however, led to his removal from the game after the inning.
And then there was our offense. Slow to start, the A's took advantage of some missed pitches by Bauer when Billy Burns tied the game in the 5th by delivering an RBI single to score Sogard who had been walked and advance when Marcus Semien followed with a copy-cat walk. Followed by Sam Fuld walked. Yawn. But hey, I'll take "yawn" right now; won't you? Cahna, in for Reddick (pulled after that bullpen catch), pops out in foul territory not giving us any chance to score any runs. UGH! (Charlie Brown missing the football moment!)
It took awhile for a bit more action. In the 8th we went down on three strikeouts punctuated by a base hit by Semien. In the 9th, Ike Davis led off with a swinging strikeout. But Brett Lawrie singled a soft grounder. Vogt, subbing for Phegley, is out at first by Sands grabbing his hard grounder and tagging the bag yet Lawrie, who got a great jump, advanced to 2nd—one hundred eighty feet from a win. Sogard enters with a base hit, walk and strikeout yet he hits a grounder to Aviles who nabs the unassisted out at first. Another missed opportunity for the A's.
Semien leads off the bottom of the 10th and strikes out against Cody Allen who replaced Bryan Shaw as pitcher #4 for the Indians. Burns popped up to short, but Sam Fuld followed with a base hit to center. Mark Cahna, with a 3-1 count, nails a 93 MPH 4-seam fastball off the outfield wall for a walkoff double to win this series for the Oak-Town players and fans. The wonderful parallel, of course, is that Mike Gallego gave his signature windmill move to Fuld to score the running win...All of this on Mike Gallego Windmill Giveaway Day.
Wow. Just wow. That was awesome! Silver lining. We're suppose to be focusing on those, right?
Well, enough of that. What do we have to look forward to tomorrow? Coco. In uniform during today's game, he should be activated tomorrow having completed his rehab stint. Burns should remain in center with Coco in left. On the mound tomorrow against Baltimore will be Jessie Chavez who has struggled a bit of late yet sits with a 3.53 ERA as part of the #1 rotation's collective ERA of 3.10. Go A's!