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.
Some of the numbers are downright ugly, yet the production over the second half of the season is a big reason that the A's (88-67) are closing in on their first postseason spot since 2006.
"Despite those numbers, we're having a great year and winning ballgames," right fielder Josh Reddick said. "We'll just kind of throw that stat out the window as long as we're scoring runs."
The A's have taken two of the first three in this four-game series at Rangers Ballpark, and they have climbed to within three games of first-place Texas in the A.L. West with seven games left.
They also remained a half-game behind Baltimore for the A.L.'s top wild-card spot but are 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 "achieved" by the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who went 66-96.
Oakland has won this season due in large part to great pitching, and they got a solid six innings from right-hander Jarrod Parker (12-8).
But their hitters have also offset their mind-numbing strikeout totals to a degree.
The A's are tied for eighth in the major leagues with 182 home runs, light years ahead of the 114 they hit last season. Though they rank just 11th in the A.L. in runs, they are third with 348 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, 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 top of the first and chased Texas left-hander Martin Perez after just two-thirds of an inning. They were helped greatly by two terrible misplays by Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton.
Stephen Drew went 4 for 5 with two RBIs to lead the A's.
Reddick got two singles to snap a 0-for-30 streak. After his first hit in the seventh, the A's jokingly called for the ball. They were surprised somebody threw it in.
It was heavily marked with messages by the time Reddick showed it off to reporters. One of the remarks: "10 broken bats, three broken helmets."
So far this series, rookie starters Dan Straily, Tommy Milone and Parker have pitched a combined 182/3 innings and allowed four earned runs.
As the rotation currently stands, Milone would be on turn to potentially pitch the A.L. wild-card game Oct. 5, though Parker could go on three days' rest.
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.
The change means all five starters in the A's current rotation are rookies. Factor in Blackley's stats, and the A's have set Oakland rookie records for wins (49), innings pitched (8021/3) and strikeouts (647).
Parker's start was the 94th by an A's rookie this season. For some context, the most rookie starts by a team to make the postseason was 69 by the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, according to stats expert David Feldman.
"I just remember kinda after, 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 liner off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar on Sept. 5 and required brain surgery. He's expected to attend Friday's home game against Seattle and be honored for being the A's nominee for this year's Roberto Clemente Award.
He told ESPN the Magazine that he might be able to start physical activity in a week or two, and he's hopeful of being cleared to travel with the A's if they make the postseason.
He will be a free agent this winter and plans to continue pitching.
A.l. West race
W L Pct. GB
Texas 91 64 .587 --
A's 88 67 .568 3
A.l. wild-card race
W L Pct. GB
Baltimore 89 67 .571 --
A's 88 67 .568 --
L.A. Angels 86 69 .555 2
Tampa Bay 85 70 .548 3
6 Combination of A's victories and Angels losses for A's to clinch a wild-card spot.
1,333 The American League record for strikeouts by a team in a season set by the A's on Wednesday. The 2007 Rays held the previous mark at 1,324. The A's, who struck out 11 times Wednesday, have seven games remaining.