MINNEAPOLIS It was one of those nights where baseball became pinball and the A's were in danger of breaking the scoreboard counter.
In the end, Oakland was an 18-3 victor over the Minnesota Twins on a night where every ball that could fell in and A's starter Sonny Gray spent enough time on the bench between innings to get his taxes done.
Actually, keeping his taxes straight might have been easier than keeping the box score accurate and up to date. It was the kind of night where outs were elevated into doubles and homers degraded to doubles.
By the end of the fourth inning, each A's batter had a hit and scored a run. Both teams emptied their benches, and Minnesota gave the A's a tour of its bullpen.
By game's end, Oakland not only had a two-touchdown advantage but also had a three-game lead in the American League West with the Texas Rangers having lost again to Pittsburgh.
Even the moment that looked bleakest Josh Donaldson getting hit on the hand by a pitch in the third inning didn't slow the A's. Donaldson was in some pain, but "I wanted to play," he said, and he remained in the game long enough to get two subsequent hits as every player in the starting lineup had a hit, scored a run and drove in a run.
"That's pretty hard to do," shortstop Jed Lowrie said. "But when you're doing it, it's lots of fun."
The biggest bit of sustained action came in the fourth inning when the first seven A's batters collected hits, the capper being a ground ball foul down the right-field line by Lowrie. Lowrie's ball was ruled foul, then after the umpires consulted, was called fair.
First-base umpire Bill Miller told both sides that he didn't have a good angle on the ball as he was trying to get out of the way, and plate umpire Dale Scott said the ball was fair. Lowrie was rewarded with a bases-loaded, two-run double that made it 9-1 and led to an irate Twins manager Ron Gardenhire getting ejected from a game he likely wouldn't have wanted to see the end of.
"It was the right call," Lowrie said.
Even so, the inning was just getting some legs to it. Oakland would score another four times, the last two on a monster homer by Stephen Vogt, getting a season-best 10 runs across in the inning to take a 13-1 lead. Vogt had two hits in that inning and also singled in the fifth.
"It was a huge night for the team," Vogt said, "after a tough loss last night to come right out and put it away early."
As for Vogt, the homer "was the longest ball I ever hit." It landed on the cement walkway behind the right-field bleachers, an area known as "Thome Territory" for the balls former Twins slugger Jim Thome used to land there the first two years Target Field was open.
Three more runs came home in the fifth, but the damage could have been greater after Lowrie opened the inning's scoring with a two-run homer. Josh Reddick, getting his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list, hit a two-run homer. The umpires, however, took the play under review and called it a double.
Manager Bob Melvin thought it might have been a homer, "but at that point, I wasn't going to argue."