The American League's lowest scoring offence didn't just break out Wednesday night, it unloaded.
Coco Crisp hit two home runs and Yoenis Cespedes had a pair of RBI doubles, leading A.J. Griffin and the Oakland Athletics over the Toronto Blue Jays 16-0 for their season-high seventh straight win.
"My guess is after today we're probably not last in the league in hitting anymore," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We're moving up."
With 14 hits, Oakland raised its team batting to .230, lifting the Athletics into a tie with Seattle for 13th in the AL. The A's have scored 385 runs this season, the fewest in the AL, but they currently own the second wild-card berth.
"The quality at bats that we're getting across the board are much better right now," Melvin said.
It was the most-lopsided shutout loss ever for Toronto. Things got so out of hand that the Blue Jays used catcher Jeff Mathis to pitch the ninth inning, and he gave up two runs on an RBI double by Brandon Hicks and an RBI single by Brandon Moss.
Chris Carter homered and drove in three runs. He drew a bases-loaded walk from Ricky Romero during an eight-run second inning as Oakland improved to 16-2 in July.
"We're still riding this wave of good offence and swinging the bats well," outfielder Josh Reddick said.
Griffin (3-0) gave up three hits in six innings. The rookie struck out nine in winning his third straight start and leaving with a 2.25 ERA.
Lopsided Jays losses in 2012
- July 2: 11-3, Royals
- June 27: 10-4, Red Sox
- May 27: 12-6, Rangers
- May 25: 14-3, Rangers
- April 18: 12-2, Rays
"He mixed his pitches, he did everything as if it was a close game, and that's what you want to see," Melvin said.
Romero (8-7) lasted only 1 1/3 innings in the shortest start of his career. He lost his sixth decision in a row.
"It's kind of tough to look my teammates in the eye right now," Romero said. "Tonight was just pathetic on my side, a horrible performance."
Crisp hit a leadoff drive to right in the third and went deep to almost the same spot in the fifth, his first multihomer game of the season and the third of his career.
The A's posted their fifth 16-0 shutout in franchise history and their first since a lopsided win over San Francisco on June 26, 2005.
"I'm speechless, the lead that I got today," Griffin said. "That's amazing."
Jonny Gomes reached base four times for Oakland, now 10-1 since the All-Star break.
"It's just a tribute to the `pass the torch' mentality we've had," Gomes said.
Catcher takes the mound
Mathis came into the game in the second after Toronto lost catcher J.P. Arencibia to a broken right hand after he was hit by Brandon Inge's foul tip. Arencibia stayed in the game until the half-inning ended, and is expected to miss six weeks.
"My hand was pretty bruised up and the umpire asked me if I wanted to call anybody out and I said no," Arencibia said. "If I had to throw a ball we probably would have been in big trouble but thankfully I didn't have to."
Romero, who came in 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in six career starts against the Athletics, allowed eight runs on four hits and six walks.
Already leading on Cespedes' RBI double in the first, Oakland broke it open in the second.
Left fielder Travis Snider's error on Crisp's single led to the first run, and Gomes followed with an RBI single. Reddick added an RBI double and, after an intentional walk to Cespedes loaded the bases, Romero ended his night by walking Carter to force home a fifth run.
Inge greeted reliever Chad Beck with a two-run double, Derek Norris grounded a run-scoring single through the right side and Hicks capped the rally with an RBI groundout.
The eight runs matched Oakland's biggest inning of the season. The A's also scored eight in the second inning of a 12-1 win over Texas on June 4.
Crisp's two solo shots made it 11-0 before Carter hit a drive in the sixth off Drew Carpenter, his sixth.
Reddick made the defensive play of the game, climbing the chain link fence in front of the visiting bullpen in right and hanging there to snag Snider's deep drive for the final out of the second.
"He was like a spider monkey out there," Griffin said.
Toronto fans cheered what they thought was a home run and the stadium horn sounded briefly as Reddick dropped down and ran off the field.
"I jumped a little early for a reason," Reddick said. "I couldn't really tell from the trajectory if it was going to go over or not so I wanted to be there just in case it did get up."