The A’s beat the Rays behind a solid effort by Sonny Gray 7-2

July 19, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray works against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

by Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND– The A’s, behind the pitching of Sonny Gray, won the finale of the three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 7-2. Gray went six and 1/3rd innings and allowed seven hits and two runs. He walked two and stuck out six as he earned his sixth victory of the 2017 campaign. Gray won his third straight start and fourth in his last five. The A’s bullpen of Daniel Coulombe, Liam Hendriks, and Santiago Casilla shut down the Rays the rest of the way. The Rays rookie sensation Jake Faria, who started his big league career with seven straight quality starts, absorbed his first setback as a member of the Rays. His record is now 4-1.

The Tampa Bay Rays scored the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning.  Third baseman Evan Longoria led off the frame with a single. Logan Morrison followed with a single to put men on at first and third with no out. Rays’ catcher Willson Ramos hit one of the longest singles on record when he rifled a shot into the gap in right-center-field to drive in Longoria with the Rays’ first run. Morrison was held at third on the play. Morrison scored when Brad Miller hit into a fielder’s choice. Gray got out of the inning when he got Tim Beckham to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. The Rays lead 2-0

The A’s put a crooked number in the bottom of the fifth as they scored four times. The Rays’ starter Jake Faria gave up three walks, two wild pitches, and three hits as the A’s gave Sonny Gray a two-run lead after five complete. Faria walked Bruce Maxwell to start the inning. He struck out Matt Chapman but walked Jaycob Brugman to put men on at first and second with just one out. Rajai Davis hit a fly ball down the right field line that was just fair and bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Maxwell scored on the play. Matt Joyce drove in Brugman with a sacrifice fly to center. The A’s scored the third run of the inning when Faria uncorked a wild pitch. It was the third game in a row that the A’s have scored a run on a wild pitch. Marcus Semien then singled, and he advanced to second on Faria second wild pitch of the inning. Yonder Alonso singled to drive in Semien with the A’ fourth run of the game. The A’s sent eight men to the plate thanks to Faria’s wildness.

The A’s plated another run in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Kittredge was now on the mound for the Rays. Jed Lowrie greeted him with a solid double to right field. With one out, Matt Chapman singled sharply to center field. Lowrie had to hold up in case the ball was caught and he was not able to score. A’s manager Bob Melvin decided it was time to play small ball and he had Jaycob Brugman execute a suicide squeeze bunt. Lowrie scored, and Chapman advanced to third. There was no more scoring in the inning, and the A’s now own a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh inning.

The A’s dodged a bullet in the top of the seventh. Former A’s third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, reached on Marcus Semien’s second fielding error of the game. Gray struck out Shane Peterson for the first out. Gray’s pitch count reached 104, and Bob Melvin brought in lefty Daniel Coulombe to pitch. Corey Dickerson singled to put men on at first and second, but Coulombe was able to get the ever-dangerous Evan Longoria to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The A’s put another run on the board in the seventh inning.Marcus Semien walked leading off. He went to second when Yonder Alonso was hit by a pitch. Jed Lowrie singled to load the bases. Semien scored on a Bruce Maxwell ground out. The A’s lead by four 6-2 after seven complete.

Matt Joyce hit a solo home run with two out in the eighth to give the A’s the lead 7-2. For Joyce, it was his 12th dinger of the season, and he hit it about 12 rows deep into the BBQ terrace in right field. The A’s brought in Santiago Casilla to close out the game, and he retired the side to end the game.

Game Notes- With the win, the A’s improved to 4-2 on the homestand. The A’s are off on Thursday to the Big Apple to play the New York Mets for three games over the weekend. Paul Blackburn, Sean Manaea, and Daniel Gossett will pitch for the A’s, and the Mets will counter with Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Rafael Montero.

The Rays Steven Souza, Jr suffered a right hip strain when he attempted to steal second in the first inning.

The A’s committed two errors on Wednesday and now have 82 for the year. They have allowed 55 unearned runs which are the most in the Majors. Opponents have stolen 77 bases on the A’s and that, too, leads the Majors. They also have the third fewest outfield assists in the American League.

The A’s are now 43-52 for the year and the Rays fall to 51-45. They trail the Red Sox by two in the AL East but the deficit could be three if the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays later in the day.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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