Sonny Gray was six outs away from a feat no player had accomplished since before World War II.
In the seventh inning, though, Rangers outfielder Ryan Rua broke up Gray’s Opening Day no-hitter. The A’s still won 8-0 on a series of big at-bats from the new-look Oakland roster.
That doesn’t mean there’s no salty aftertaste, even with a shutout over eight innings, one hit and three punchouts.
Gray punched his glove in frustration after allowing the singular hit, and he said that there was a point where he knew he could make history:
“After the fourth, I knew that they didn’t have any hits and after that I took it one inning at a time. And then in the eighth, I didn’t feel like I made that bad of pitches, maybe was a little tired and left a few pitches up. But the hit, he put a great swing on it and put it in rightfield.”
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
He didn’t regret throwing that fateful heater away that he tried to elevate in the zone. He had been feeling his fastball all game long, and had been mixing his pitches well.
Manager Bob Melvin said that a no-hitter from Gray almost seems inevitable:
“I think he has the stuff for it. And really today, he was pretty close. He was pretty frustrated when he gave up the hit. You get that far along and you have as good of stuff as he did, and probably if you asked him, felt like there was a good chance he was going to get it.”
Catcher Stephen Vogt, who finished with three RBI and two runs, agreed with Melvin:
“He’s got the stuff. To expect a no-hitter from somebody, lets put it this way: I won’t expect it, but I won’t be surprised.”
If Gray had allowed five runs, the end result of the game would be the same: the A’s are undefeated after their first game of 2015.
The youngster also has a 17-inning scoreless streak against the division foe Rangers.
Vogt advanced to third on the play, and would score on a wild pitch during the next at-bat for a 4-0 lead.
Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo left the game after only four innings, surrendering four runs on six hits while notching five strikeouts.
It was the same story over the next four innings, Oakland putting runners across home four more times and the night was done.
Every batter in Oakland’s lineup scored a run or batted one in, save leadoff man Craig Gentry.
Vogt credits the early run support, along with the first inning hit from Fuld, in putting Gray and the rest of the team at ease.
Gray’s one-hitter on opening day is monumental, even at the loss of a no-no. It’s something that hasn’t been done since the Montreal Expos were a big league club, and Dennis Martinez matched it against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Nobody in the A’s clubhouse wanted to begin the season on a sour note, but nobody was willing to say they expected an opener like this. And really, who could?
The A’s are undefeated for one day and Oakland’s 2015 season opener couldn’t have gone any better. With the exception of one hard hit ball to shallow right.