Bay Area Sports Beat: What You Need to Know Right Now


Deep into the Oakland night, it was a couple of kids donning yellow who struck back to put the A’s back even against the Detroit Tigers.

Sonny Gray, a 23-year-old from Nashville pitching in his first postseason game, went pitch-for-pitch against the Tigers’ vaunted hurler Justin Verlander. Yeah, the same Verlander who has a Cy Young and an MVP award in his trophy cabinet and shut down the A’s in last year’s playoffs.

Then there was Stephen Vogt, the rookie catcher who got the pie-in-the-face treatment after breaking up a scoreless tie with a walk-off single in the ninth inning to clinch the 1-0 victory and even their best-of-five series at a game apiece.

Not household names? Whatever, it worked. And the Coliseum was rockin’ as a result.

A day after the A’s were stymied in a white-knuckle 3-2 loss, Gray sparked Oakland with a dazzling display on the mound that should give the A’s momentum heading to Detroit.

The excitable, hard-throwing hurler pitched eight scoreless innings, gave up four hits and struck out nine Tigers.

Better yet, if the series stretches to give games, Gray will be available to toss the deciding game.

“His composure is his excitement,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told Bleacher Report. “He’s not one of those guys that’s stone-faced out there and you can’t tell his emotions.  

“He’s into every pitch, and he really enjoys doing it. That has worked for him over his career and still is at the major league level.”

First pitch of Game 3 is at 10:07 a.m. today in Detroit.

Stanford escapes, Cal stumbles

The Cardinal’s quest to smell roses for the second consecutive year was nearly flagellated on by the same team that nearly dashed their Rose Bowl-related hopes last season.

But the resilient No. 5 Cardinal fought off a stiff challenge from the visiting No. 15 Washington Huskies and remained undefeated after a 31-28 victory on The Farm.

Ty Montgomery electrified Stanford when he returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. His antics continued to infuriate Washington en route to its first loss of the season, when he also caught a 39-yard touchdown pass and set up another score with a 72-yard return.

And Cal, well, Cal played.

The youthful Bears continued to give up points in bunches, as Washington State visited Berkeley on Saturday and steamrolled Cal, 44-22.

Back on the ice

Don’t be too fooled by the drop-everything-right-now-and-go-outside weather in San Francisco: for those who follow the San Jose Sharks, they’re again happy to embrace the ice.

Hockey’s back and the Sharks look to improve upon last year’s second-round playoff exit. Based on their first two games, they may be able to do just that.

They started the season with back-to-back victories and 19-year-old rookie Thomas Hertl has all the makings of an offensive sensation. The Czech center who the Sharks nabbed with the 17th pick of the 2012 draft, scored his first two career goals in the Sharks’ 4-1 victory over Phoenix on Saturday night.

“He’s probably dreamed about playing in the NHL since he was 5 or 6 years old,” Joe Thornton told the San Francisco Chronicle. “You can see him smiling from ear to ear. We love it.” 

49ers cruise on prime time

Flip a coin. Which 49ers were going to show up? 

Would the world-beating 49ers emerge from the tunnel, you know, the ones who nearly won a Super Bowl last year and manhandled the likes of the Packers and Saints this year? 

Or would the perplexingly, smash-your-head-against-the-wall inept ones show who were swept aside by Seattle and Indianapolis? 

For the sake of the 49er faithful's collective heads, thankfully, it was the former that showed on Sunday night. 

Considered a stout enough challenge to warrant a prime-time slot, the Houston Texans offered little of a challenge to the hosts.

Tramaine Brock intercepted Matt Schaub just over a minute into the contest and took it to the end zone for a quick lead and the 49ers cruised from there to a 34-3 victory over the defending AFC South champions. 

Read the full recap here via Bleacher Report

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