A's, Gray

A’s, Sonny Gray almost make history, still break a curse

In baseball history there has been one, yes just one, no-hitter thrown on Opening Day. On April 16, 1940 Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the first no-no of his career defeating the Chicago White Sox by a score of 1-0. He is the only player to ever pitch a no-hitter on Opening Day, in the game’s long and rich history youMLBd think there would have been more than one.

That long-standing record came six outs away from being tied Monday night when the Oakland Athletics took on the Texas Rangers. 25-year-old right-hander Sonny Gray was on the mound for Oakland and 29-year-old right-hander Yovani Gallardo was starting for the Rangers.

Sonny Gray. USA TODAY Sports.
Sonny Gray. USA TODAY Sports.

Gallardo worked just over four innings, allowing four runs on six hits.

Gray worked methodically making all his pitches and being backed by the superb defense of the new-look A’s. Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning but it was broken up by left fielder Ryan Rua who lead off with a single.

The Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, arguably one of the league’s best third baseman, praised Gray’s efforts saying,

“He was throwing all his pitches. He was commanding his fastball and throwing his pitches for strikes. He pitched a great game.”

It was disappointing for the sold out crowd at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland who were, of course, quietly hoping Gray would go the distance. Either way the game was actually a sort-of record breaker for the Athletics anyway. The A’s had not won a game on Opening Day in ten years and now that streak has finally ended.

“That was a big monkey we needed to get off our back,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, “and to do it in the fashion we did tonight was terrific. It’s really nice to get that win.”

The A’s and Sonny Gray did win the game in spectacular fashion. Besides Gray’s stellar performance allowing the one hit in eight innings, almost every member of the A’s contributed to the 8-0 win in big way.

General manager Billy Beane did a major overhaul of the A’s roster over the offseason, trading away five All-Star players and bringing in quite a bit of young talent along with a few skilled veterans.

Ben Zobrist hit a towering home run in the first inning that scored him and Sam Fuld who had tripled before Zobrist’s blast. In his second at-bat as a member of the green and gold, white cleated team Zobrist got another base hit, doubling off of Gallardo in the third.

Ben Zobrist. Getty Images.
Ben Zobrist. Getty Images.

New shortstop Marcus Semien added an RBI single in the fourth and former Kansas City Royal Billy Butler, who signed a three-year deal with the A’s over the offseason, doubled in a run in the eighth. The only member of the lineup who didn’t get a hit, Ike Davis, got a key walk in the fourth that set up a two run rally.

The A’s defense was solid, especially, Semien and Brett Lawrie on the left side and second baseman Eric Sogard robbed Beltre of hit up the middle, keeping Gray’s no-hitter intact during the seventh inning.

While Gray’s performance was by far the story of the night, the entire team chipped in to get the A’s their first Opening Day win in a decade.

Many people thought that Billy Beane was crazy, trading away all his All-Star players but he knew that the team needed a change. Perhaps he has put together a team that should not be underestimated in 2015.

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