The Oakland Athletics currently lead the American League wild-card race. This has been accomplished primarily on the strength of their pitching staff, which has allowed the second-fewest runs in the AL.
That's why Friday night's outburst in Oakland was such a shocker, as the A's scored 20 runs in a game for the first time in almost 12 years, defeating the visiting Boston Red Sox 20-2.
The A's smashed five home runs off five different Boston pitchers: Josh Donaldson off starter Aaron Cook in the second inning; Brandon Moss off demoted closer Alfredo Aceves in the fifth; George Kottaras off Daniel Bard in the sixth; Josh Reddick off Mark Melancon in the seventh, and Kottaras again, this time off Vicente Padilla in the eighth. (Not only that, but three of those players -- Moss, Kottaras and Reddick -- are former Red Sox.) In all, the A's pounded out 19 hits and drew four walks.
It's probably a good thing for Red Sox fans that this game took place on the West Coast; the late-Friday start in Boston means that many Boston fans probably didn't see it. Meanwhile, the 20-run outburst -- just the fourth for the A's franchise since they moved to Oakland in 1968 -- pushed them from 11th to ninth in the AL in runs scored.