No comeback necessary this time.
The Oakland A’s started scoring early on Thursday and never stopped, resulting in a 17-0 blowout over the Cleveland Indians. The A’s completed a three-game sweep at Progressive Field, and ran their win streak to seven games, and they did so in style with the most lopsided shutout victory in franchise history.
In each of the first two games in this series, Cleveland took a lead in the opening innings and then Oakland waited until the last minute to strike back. That did not happen this afternoon. The A’s scored a few in the 2nd inning, then a bunch more in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, and then even more in the 8th and 9th just for good measure. Meanwhile the Indians managed only three hits and never crossed home plate a single time.
Oakland’s first rally offered foreshadowing for the rest of the day, as they got lots of help from wild Cleveland pitching. The Indians issued 13 free passes (10 walks, 3 HBP), and nine of them came around to score. That began in the 2nd inning, when a HBP and a walk set the table for Sean Murphy to drill a two-run double.
picking up right where we left off pic.twitter.com/uekXwPVYkM— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 12, 2021
Murphy hit an RBI double every game in this series, each of the last three days. And this time it technically knocked in the winning runs!
After Murphy’s double, a walk and a defensive miscue loaded the bases, and then Starling Marte was hit by a pitch to force home another run.
This barely clipped Marte’s hand, which is an especially scary place for a batter to get pegged. But don’t worry, later in the day he ripped two base hits with massive triple-digit exit velocities, so it appears he’s OK. See Exhibit A below. (This came in the 4th inning after a walk, single, and RBI groundout had already plated one run.)
Marte extends the lead to 5-0 pic.twitter.com/L5To3BirH5— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 12, 2021
The A’s entered the 5th inning leading 5-0, and by the end of the frame they’d doubled that advantage. Mitch Moreland led off with a solo homer, 107.1 mph off the bat.
Moreland absolutely smoked this ball out to right pic.twitter.com/kRxlan8MSy— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 12, 2021
The next three batters each walked to load the bases, and then after a foulout for the first out of the inning, Elvis Andrus drew another walk to force home a run. That’s an entire run built on nothing but walks.
With the bases still packed, Marte offered Exhibit B that the HBP to his hand wasn’t bothering him.
Starling Marte is now batting 22-53 (.415) with 7 multi-hit games in 12 contests with the A's pic.twitter.com/ULIJ0QJ4Ek— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 12, 2021
As if this wasn’t already getting ridiculous enough, Matt Olson followed by doinking a BABIP single through the shift for two more runs. 10-0 A’s.
Perfect placement from Oly on this one pic.twitter.com/yAEsmLILEP— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 12, 2021
By this point, Oakland was barely even halfway done scoring for the day. In the 6th inning they got two more. A single and two walks loaded the bases, and two productive outs did the job — Seth Brown with a sac fly, and Andrus with an RBI groundout. 12-0 A’s.
They took a break in the 7th, then got back to work in the 8th. They loaded the bases again, and this time it was Mark Canha with the two-run double. 14-0 A’s.
Runs on runs on runs on runs pic.twitter.com/AskFA5otH4— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 12, 2021
Then Stephen Piscotty, who didn’t even start the game, knocked in two more with a single. 16-0 A’s.
And then, to cap it off, Mitchy Two Bags rebranded himself as Mitchy Two Dingers. Moreland blasted his second solo homer of the day, and in this case we don’t mind that there was nobody on base ahead of the long balls.
Two-dinger day for Mitch Moreland pic.twitter.com/JZMr9OnOVk— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 12, 2021
We haven’t seen much of Moreland this month, as the newly acquired hitters have deservedly taken a bite out of his playing time. But he’s suddenly heating up along with everybody else, and remember last night he hit a 407-foot drive that somehow stayed in the park for a double even though it went farther than either of today’s homers. Are folks beginning to see why I always advise against giving up on Mitchy?
Oakland used 11 hitters in this game, and all of them reached base at least once (14 hits to go with those 13 free passes). All of them also either scored or drove in a run. Seven players had multiple RBI, but nobody had more than three RBI nor scored more than three runs in this ensemble effort.
The most interesting stat line belonged to Matt Chapman. He drew five walks before finally striking out in his sixth plate appearance, and he came around to score three times. That performance tied an Oakland record, with the previous instance coming 24 years ago.
OAKLAND A's MOST WALKS, GAME— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) August 12, 2021
5 Matt Chapman, Aug. 12, 2021
5 Mark McGwire, April 26, 1997
5 Jose Canseco, Aug. 4, 1992
5 Rickey Henderson, April 8, 1982
5 Billy North, Sept. 17, 1973
As for the 17 runs, they aren’t historic on their own, as we’ve seen this current core surpass 20 a couple times in recent years. But factor in the zero on the other side of the ledger, and it set a franchise record dating back through 121 years of club lore, as their most lopsided shutout victory ever.
The A's 17-0 win at Cleveland today was the largest margin of victory in a shutout in Athletics history...had six 16-0 wins, including three in Oakland, one in Kansas City and two in Philadelphia.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) August 12, 2021
Ride the wave? Today was a tsunami.
As if all that hitting wasn’t enough, the A’s also did some pitching today. Starter Chris Bassitt took his early run support and cruised, chewing through six quiet innings.
- Bassitt: 6 ip, 0 runs, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 3 hits, 81 pitches, 85.5 mph EV
Presumably he could have worked deeper if need be, and who knows, maybe he could have gone the distance for his second shutout of the summer. But there was no need to push him with the game already clearly decided.
All you, 40.— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 12, 2021
6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 K pic.twitter.com/WsbfBxHBVJ
Even when they clanked a grounder on defense, it still worked out alright. Elvis Being Elvis!
Slick, Elvis pic.twitter.com/S6S8Ubiw4T— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 12, 2021
There was one bit of bummer news, though. Oakland spent so much time running the bases that they actually hurt themselves, as Josh Harrison pulled a quad muscle sprinting around the bags. His status is day-to-day for now.
That was fun
The A’s are about as hot as humanly possible right now. That’s seven wins in a row, and 11 out of 13, and they’re now just 1.5 games back of the idle first-place Astros in the AL West. Holy Toledo!