Maybe the A’s had a night like this coming.
They’ve endured their offensive struggles of late, and even when they’ve hit balls hard in recent games, they’ve often been directed right at opposing defenders.
But the floodgates opened in Tuesday’s 11-3 rout of Kansas City. Line drives found holes – so did the bloopers – and it all seemed so easy for the A’s as they piled up a season-high 20 hits.
Something else to consider: Perhaps it’s a good thing for the A’s that they enjoyed this kind of game with Jon Lester on the hill. Since they traded for the dominant lefty on July 31, there seems to be a prevailing thought regarding this team. And it goes along the lines of, “The A’s may not be scoring much lately, but as long as Lester is pitching, they’ve got a chance to win.”
The truth is, Lester won’t always be automatic. It won’t always be a matter of just giving him a run or two and sitting back and watching him mow down hitters. We saw this Tuesday.
Lester got the job done with six innings of three-run ball, but he did show some vulnerability in the fifth, when the Royals got to him for all three of their runs. By then, the A’s were leading 6-0. Lester had some cushion to work with, and the A’s had no reason to be rattled by their ace getting knocked around a bit.
On Tuesday, we saw the A’s preferred M.O. offensively: Score early, get their starting pitcher some breathing room, and continue adding on with runs as the innings tick away.
Josh Donaldson (2 HR’s, 4 RBI) and Brandon Moss (4-for-5, 2 RBI) shared top billing as the A’s tied this four-game series at a game apiece. But Sam Fuld did a nice job filling in for leadoff man Coco Crisp, reaching base four times and scoring twice. Josh Reddick had three hits. John Jaso, who was 1-for-25 on the recent homestand, singled twice and scored two runs. He’s an unheralded but very important component to the A’s lineup.
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Another benefit of games such as Tuesday’s. It stops, at least temporarily, all the hand-wringing about how much the A’s might miss Yoenis Cespedes’ presence in the middle of the order.
“I know a lot of guys have talked about filling the void that Cespy left,”Fuld said. “We all realize we just sort of have to do our part. I think today was a good example. We just sort of chipped away and banged out a lot of hits. We didn’t try to do too much.”
It’s a sound formula, and one that’s worth repeating as often as possible.