ARLINGTON, Texas Leave it to the A's to bang out 16 hits on the same night that they broke the American League record for strikeouts in a season.
A 9-3 A's victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night perfectly illustrated the contradiction that is Oakland's offense this season.
Some of the numbers are ugly, yet the offensive production over the second half of the season is a big reason the A's are closing in on their first postseason spot since 2006.
They've taken two of the first three in a four-game series at Rangers Ballpark, and they've climbed within three games of first-place Texas in the American League West with seven games left.
They also remained a half-game behind Baltimore for the A.L.'s top wild-card spot and two games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second spot.
The A's struck out 11 times, giving them an A.L.-record 1,333 on the season, breaking the mark of 1,324 set in 2007 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who went 66-96.
"At least we're not hitting into double plays," manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland has won this season in large part because of great pitching, and the A's got a solid six innings from right-hander Jarrod Parker on Wednesday.
But their hitters have offset their mind-numbing strikeout totals to a degree. The A's have 182 home runs, eighth in the major leagues and light years ahead of the 114 they hit last season. Though they rank just 11th in the league in runs, they are second with 339 since the All-Star break.
"The fact that we have so many strikeouts, yeah, that does bother me," A's hitting coach Chili Davis said. "The fact that we're playing well kind of nullifies that with me, because we've got guys with power. And when you have power, you're gonna have strikeouts."
The A's scored five runs in the first inning and chased Texas left-hander Martin Perez after one-third of an inning. They were helped by two misplays by Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton.
Stephen Drew went 4 for 5 with two RBIs to lead the A's. Josh Reddick had two singles and snapped an 0-for-30 skid.
Notes The Elias Sports Bureau made an adjustment in Travis Blackley's major league service time, and the 29-year-old left-hander is now classified as a rookie.
How can that be for a player who debuted in 2004? Blackley entered this season with 1 year, 42 days of service time, but he spent the entire 2005 season on the disabled list, which was mistakingly added to his time.
That means all five starters in the A's rotation are rookies. Parker's start was the 94th by an A's rookie this season. For some context, the most rookie starts by a team that made the postseason was 69 by the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, according to stats expert David Feldman.
A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, out for the season after being struck in the head by a line drive, said what he remembers most about the incident was the intense ringing in his head immediately afterward.
"I just remember once I was on the ground, it sounded like a jet was flying close by," McCarthy was quoted by ESPN The Magazine. "I could hear just a ringing. I kept asking, 'Is there a plane overhead? What is that noise I am hearing?' "
McCarthy, 29, has made an encouraging recovery since he was struck by a line drive Sept. 5 and required emergency brain surgery.