The A's lost 8-7 in 14 innings, on a Melky Cabrera walk off single off Arnold Leon. But this game meant more, so much more.
I predicted a short game. It was 5 hours, and 14 innings.
I predicted a pitcher's duel. Sonny Gray couldn't even record an out in the fourth and left allowing 7 runs.
Closing the book on the worst start of Sonny Gray's career: 3+ IP, 8 H (2 HR), 7 ER, 4 BB, 4 K - 75 pitches, 44 strikes— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 15, 2015
I predicted a tease. The A's scored four in the ninth to tie and sent it to extras.
You want to know how weird this game was? The A's bullpen pitched 10 straight scoreless innings until Arnold "AA" Leon gave it up in an act of mercy by Bob Melvin, who decided four and a half extra innings with no score was probably enough.
The weirdness all started in the ninth, when the A's put together a "rally" against Daniel Robertson. Brett Lawrie led off with a bloop that ended up being a double when Trayce Thompson's diving lunge was not only unsuccessful but caused him to leave the game with injury. Danny Valencia followed by reaching base on a strikeout/wild pitch with Lawrie moving to third. After Billy Butler predictably struck out, Josh Reddick hit a tailor made game-ending double play ball. Except that the call was catcher's interference, and it was the right call with Tyler Flowers' glove sitting in the potential swing path of Reddick. So now, bases loaded, one out (if you're counting at home, it should have been four outs at this point) and the A's brought the tying run to the plate in the lamest rally ever. Coco Crisp came on to pinch hit and drew a bases-loaded walk. 7-4 and the A's still had the bases loaded. After a Jake Smolinski strikeout the A's were down to their final out. And Sam Fuld came through with a single through the right side to get the A's to 7-6. Daniel Robertson ensured that Marcus Semien did not need to be a hero against his former team, sailing the first offering to the backstop, allowing Crisp to score easily from third and tie it up at 7. Semien, for his part, hit Robertson's pitch on the screws but right to Adam Eaton, lining out to end the inning.
- Lawrie: Bloop that turned into a double because of an injury
- Valencia: Strikeout/wild pitch reach base
- Butler: Strikeout (one out)
- Reddick: Double play negated by catcher's interference; bases loaded
- Crisp: Walk; RBI
- Smolinski: Strikeout (two outs)
- Fuld: 2-RBI single
- Wild pitch scores Crisp from third, A's tie it up (Fuld moves to 2nd, then steals 3rd)
- Semien lines out
Tyler Flowers had a pretty epic inning, not blocking the "wild pitch" on Valencia's strikeout, sticking his glove in the way of Reddick for the interference, and not reacting to the high pitch with the runner on third. Josh Phegley may or may not have been smirking in the dugout at the catcher the White Sox chose over him. Unfortunately no such gifts were given in the extra frames.
It's probably not fair to expect 8 innings of mastery every time Sonny Gray steps on the mound. However with very little to look forward to the rest of this year, Sonny Gray starts were one of the few reasons to keep tuning into the A's. He started the day just a hair off of Dallas Keuchel for the AL ERA lead. Seven earned runs later...he's a ways off. A 2.5 ERA is certainly something to be proud of, but it's tough to see a path to the Cy Young Award for Mr. Gray after this performance.
Gray's second inning was inauspicious. He loaded the bases with a couple of walks and a hit, but managed to escape without a score.
The A's struck first in the top of the third inning, with a Jake Smolinski solo shot. 1-0 A's.
Gray was not as lucky in the third inning, when Jose Abreu and Trayce Thompson both took him deep for two run shots. 4-1 Sox.
The A's got a run back on a Brett Lawrie solo shot in the fourth. The ball was certainly carrying, as that one just kept on going until it landed beyond the fence. 4-2 Sox.
Then, the saddest fourth inning happened. With Gray pitching, the Sox got a walk, single, walk, bases-loaded walk, and a single. And Gray left the game, in the fourth inning, without recording an out. 7 earned runs.
In the 7th, Josh Reddick went deep for the A's third solo homer of the day. 7-3 Sox, setting the A's up for the mega ninth inning rally.
Overall the 200 White Sox fans remaining (out of the announced 12,221) were somewhat entertaining. They started heckling every player. I heard a chant of "F___ The Po-Lice!" (clap clap clapclapclap) at one point. I assume that security was kicking out a drunk guy.
Fernando Abad threw almost 40 pitches over two innings, but managed to pitch a scoreless 12th and 13th, getting Melky Cabrera to ground into a key bases-loaded fielder's choice with the out at home to preserve the tie. His solid performance followed Drew Pomeranz's scoreless 10th and 11th, and Ryan Dull's scoreless 9th.
Overall this was a super boring depressing game. And then it started getting interesting. With the craziness of the 9th and the loopiness of five extra innings that nobody every wanted, it made for a fun night. And hey, the tank is still rolling. Also, the A's are now 16-32 in one-run games so everything is still on track. Good times.