It has been up-and-down and has come with a lot of lumps, but the Oakland Athletics, in the middle of yet another Wild Card Race showed once again on Tuesday night that they are not to be trifled with.
When you lose 15-0 to the powerhouse Houston Astros, surrendering seven home runs (including six in the first two innings) and helping allow the Astros’ franchise record for runs scored in consecutive games with 36, what’s the appropriate response for the Oakland Athletics?
Beating them jump as bad the next night is a pretty good one.
Monday night, in what was undoubtedly the A’s most thorough loss of the season, was a unique one.
Most losses – like both of last weekend’s losses to the New York Yankees and last Friday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers – have come at the hands of their bullpen in games they had in hand, as evidenced by their league-leading 28 blown saves.
But this loss was utter dominance, which has come rarely this season and more times than not from the Astros.
But they came out ready to rebound.
The Oakland Athletics jumped out to a 7-0 lead on eight singles in the first inning, adding on six home runs in the next four innings, to dominate in a 21-7 win at Minute Maid Park, a.k.a. Coors Field South.
Every Athletic in the starting lineup logged at least two hits and at least one run by the end of the fifth inning, and they were one nice inning away from their team records for runs (23), hits (29) and home runs (eight) in a single game.
It was also a night of milestones.
Matt Olson hit his 30th and 31st home runs of the season, a new career-high and the most for an A’s first baseman not linked to PEDs.
Khris Davis hit his 20th home run – continuing a nice run he is on in the past week-plus, hitting 11-39 (.282) in his past 10 games with two home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs since August 26 – reaching the milestone for the sixth season in a row.
Sean Murphy had the first multi-bomb game of his young career; Marcus Semien hit his 27th shot and reached 164 hits, 80 RBIs and 107 runs, all career-highs; and Matt Chapman continued his career-best RBI season, driving in run no. 81 and scoring run nos. 92 and 93, closing in on hitting triple digits for the second season in a row.