It was certainly a case of feast or famine for the Orioles in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis gave up three straight homers to begin the bottom of the first, retired the next 18 hitters he faced and then surrendered two more homers in the seventh to leave down 6-0 versus Baltimore.
The end result: Lewis struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed a career-high five homers. Those homers were the only hits he allowed.
Lewis became just the fifth pitcher in major league history to give up five homers and no other hits. Oakland’s Ted Lilly was the last, surrendering five homers in four innings against the Braves on June 11, 2003. Denny McLain (1971), Steve Stone (1974) and Charlie Hough (1989) were the others to manage it. No one has ever given up six homers and no other hits.
The 12 strikeouts was also by far the most for anyone in a game with five homers allowed. Hough struck out nine in that aforementioned start on June 24, 1989, which had been the previous high total. Curt Schilling, on June 28, 1997, was the last pitcher to strike out 12 and give up four homers.
Lewis also issued just one walk on the day. So, while his ERA jumped from 2.97 to 3.69, his WHIP actually dropped from 1.14 to 1.10.
After drubbing the Angels 10-0 on Wednesday, the Athletics stayed hot, scoring 21 runs to once again rout the Angels on Thursday afternoon. Edwin Jackson got the start, yielding two earned runs on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
The offense started in the bottom of the third inning, when the A’s plated five runs. That featured a two-run double from Matt Chapman and a three-run home run from Stephen Piscotty. In the fourth, the A’s scored seven more on RBI singles from Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty, which were followed up with an RBI double from Ramon Laureano and an RBI single from Marcus Semien. In the sixth, the A’s bolstered their lead to 18-2 when Laureano hit a bases-loaded single, Semien hit a bases-clearing double, Josh Phegley hit an RBI single, and Franklin Barreto knocked in a run with a double play. The following inning, with position player Francisco Arcia pitching, Nick Martini hit a two-run homer and Chad Pinder made it back-to-back jacks with a solo shot of his own, pushing the score to 21-2.
Arcia hit a solo homer for the Angels in the top of the ninth to make it 21-3, then Kaleb Cowart popped out to end the game. It’s the sixth time a team has scored 20-plus runs this season and the first since the Mets won 24-4 over the Phillies on August 16. The other occurrences: Dodgers 21-5 over the Brewers on August 2, Nationals 25-4 over the Mets on July 31, Diamondbacks 20-5 over the Padres on July 7, and Phillies 20-1 over the Marlins on April 7.
Notables in the box score for the A’s: Martini had three hits and three runs scored, Piscotty had four RBI, Semien had three hits and five RBI, and Phegley had three hits with three runs scored.
With Thursday’s win, the A’s cut their deficit to 3.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. They have a six-game lead over the Rays for the second Wild Card and trail the Yankees by two games for the first Wild Card. Nine games remain in the regular season for the A’s.