BALTIMORE — In a complete one-sided domination of epic proportions, it’s hard to determine what was more impressive for the A’s — pitching or hitting?
The A’s fourth installment of the “bullpenning” method this year was by far their most successful in Wednesday’s 10-0 win over the Orioles, with Liam Hendriks, Daniel Mengden, Ryan Dull, JB Wendelken and Aaron Brooks combining to toss a one-hitter and no hits allowed after the first.
But the A’s offensive explosion that resulted in career highs galore in the third inning was next-level ridiculous.
An inning that began with Nick Martini leading off with a single against Andrew Cashner resulted in a total of 15 plate appearances, 10 of those resulting in hits, and 10 runs crossing home plate.
Khris Davis singled home a run for his career-high tying 110th RBI of the season.
Matt Olson crushed his career-high 26th home run, which also happened to be the A’s 200th home run of the season. It’s just the second time the A’s have reached the 200-mark for a season since 2002.
Stephen Piscotty’s single extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games.
All this happened in one inning. An inning that felt like it would never end as Cashner failed to record an out against any of the eight batters he faced to lead it off before getting pulled for Cody Carroll.
Carroll would eventually record the final out of the inning with a strikeout of Davis, which drew a sarcastic cheer from the small crowd of an announced 10,480 fans assembled at Camden Yards that chose to show up and soldier through watching what has been the worst team in baseball.
The 10 runs in the inning were a season-high for the A’s (89-57), with the 10 hits matching an Oakland record for most hits in an inning, the third time in history that feat has been achieved.
Martini, Jonathan Lucroy, and Matt Chapman each picked up two hits in the inning.
But the A’s offense going off is no surprise. They’ve shown they can slug with the best of them, entering the night with the third-most homers in the majors.
Perhaps getting the hang of this whole “bullpenning” thing is more satisfactory. It’s worked out well for Mengden, who after holding the Orioles hitless over five innings has now allowed just one hit over 9⅔ scoreless innings his last two times entering games in relief of Hendriks.
The A’s will likely conclude the season utilizing the strategy at least one time through the rotation, and Mengden could be the pitcher perfectly suited to handle the role.