A's hope breakout leads to rise in standings
OAKLAND -- The A's have struggled in one-run games all season, but recently they've found a new formula -- blow teams out.
Riding a season-high four-game winning streak, the A's have outscored their opponents 39-9 during that span, showing signs of a turnaround those in the clubhouse believed was possible. The most recent thumping came in style, as the A's blasted the Padres, 16-2, at the Coliseum on Wednesday, scoring seven runs in the eighth to provide a significant cushion.
"It's just one of those things," Billy Burns said. "We kept hitting that one inning. Throughout the whole game we were just hitting. You can't explain it. If you could explain it you'd do it more often."
The A's sit in last place of the American League West at 29-39, yet they've outscored their opponents 304-266 on the season. They have the second-most runs in the Majors, but are 5-18 in one-run games.
Lately, though, their bats have come alive, and the production has come from a variety of sources. Every A's starter had a hit Wednesday, and all but Stephen Vogt scored a run. Billy Butler and Ben Zobrist provided a hefty chunk of the offense.
Butler hit a three-run moonshot to left in the first, tacking on two infield singles and a single to right. He entered the game hitting .190 in June, but had a monster night against the Padres.
"He looks like the Billy we know, the way he was swinging tonight," Zobrist said.
Zobrist himself finished a home run away from the cycle, and is now nine for his last 23. He's scored 10 runs in the A's four-game winning streak, and his average has skyrocketed from .205 to .244 since June 7.
Zobrist joked that he's run the bases more in these four games than he did in two and a half months prior. The A's have seen glimpses of hope many times this season, but they've quickly regressed to mediocrity. They hope those days are behind them, and that this hot stretch is the start of something bigger.
"This is obviously a step in the right direction, the last four games," Zobrist said. "We just have to keep it going. We do feel like we're a much better team than our record shows. Just have to prove that [the] rest of [the] season."