On Thursday in New York against the Yankees, the Oakland Athletics were humiliated.
Last night, in Boston facing the Red Sox, the A’s got some revenge — of sorts.
Proving they are not laying down late in a playoff-less season, Oakland beat up Boston, 15-5, Friday night at Fenway Park. For Red Sox fans who laughed about the A’s beating the Yankees twice earlier this week — and then chuckling at Oakland for giving up 22 runs on Thursday — there was nothing but shock.
And now it’s the Yankees fanbase that chuckles.
(Whether it’s a case of s/he who laughs last laughs best is yet to be seen — or cared about in Oakland, of course.)
In the second half of the season now, the A’s are 20-18, and they’ve been playing a different kind of baseball than they did in the first half of the 2011 campaign when they went 39-53.
Including Friday night’s pounding of the Red Sox, Oakland has scored 1.8 more runs per game in the second half of the season than they did in the first half.
This offensive success comes with a trade-off, however, as the A’s have also allowed 1.7 more runs per game since the All-Star break.
So their overall run differential remains consistent, yet the higher-scoring games seem to agree with Oakland more in the win-loss columns.
(Perhaps this should be Billy Beane’s new approach for 2012: score often and then score even more. Anyone remember the 1999 A’s?)
But back to Friday night’s game in Boston: Gio Gonzalez was good enough to get the win, although he didn’t last six innings against the Red Sox. He evened his record at 11-11 on the year despite giving up four runs, seven hits and three walks in his 5 2/3-inning stint.
Gonzalez overcame back-to-back home runs allowed to Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in the fourth inning to secure the victory.
Meanwhile, after Thursday’s implosion in New York, the bullpen only allowed a ninth-inning run in 3 1/3 innings of work — not bad against a powerful Red Sox lineup playing in its cozy home park.
On the offensive side, the A’s rapped 16 hits overall, and they took an 8-1 lead in the fourth inning — and then scored seven runs in the final three innings. Josh Willingham had four RBI, David DeJesus drove in three runs, and three other Oakland hitters had two RBI apiece: Hideki Matsui, Cliff Pennington and Scott Sizemore.
Equal distribution on offense, clearly, is a nice thing to have, and the A’s were so good hitting the ball Friday night, the Red Sox sent outfielder Darnell McDonald into pitch in the ninth inning.
That had to be fun for Oakland fans — and Yankees fans — to watch.