In 2011 the Athletics hit 114 home runs -- powerless enough to finish 24th in the Majors in that category, but still better than the Pirates, who ranked 27th, with 107. Pittsburgh finished with a 72-90 record, slightly worse than Oakland's 74-88 mark.
In 2012, such things as home runs and wins have certainly turned around for these two franchises. With the season not yet two-thirds over, Pittsburgh has already surpassed its homer total from 2011 and has the fifth-best record in the Majors. Meanwhile, the A's are three home runs shy of matching their output from last season, and thanks to a scintillating 18-3 record in July, now are tied for the seventh-best winning percentage in the Majors.
On Saturday the Athletics got home runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter and defeated the Orioles, 6-1. Oakland has hit at least one homer in 18 consecutive road games. It's the third-longest streak for an American League team in the live-ball era, behind Baltimore's 24-game run in 1996 and the Yankees' 19-game streak in 1961. Oakland is 13-5 over these 18 games.
Homers by Neil Walker and Alex Presley carried the Pirates over the Astros, 4-3.
Pittsburgh has hit at least one home run in 18 straight road games, the third-longest streak in the National League in the live-ball era. The 1953 Dodgers and 2000 Astros each homered in 20 consecutive road games. The Pirates are 12-6 over their streak.
The Pirates have hit 71 home runs on the road this season, tying them with the Yankees for the most in the Majors.
The Astros' 4-3 loss to the Pirates was their 12th consecutive defeat, a franchise record. From 1962 (Houston's inaugural season) through 2011, the NL saw 23 single-season losing streaks of at least 12 games, with the Cubs responsible for five of them.
Pedro Ciriaco went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI in Boston's 8-6 win over New York. For the month of July, Ciriaco -- who played his first game of the season on July 7 -- has the second-most hits for the Sox, leads the team in steals and has the third-most total bases.
Jon Lester fanned six to reach 1,000 strikeouts in his career. He is the 21st left-hander since 1893 to reach 1,000 through his first seven seasons, and one of seven active pitchers among the 21. The others are Cole Hamels (1,229), Johan Santana (1,146), CC Sabathia (1,142), Barry Zito (1,096), Oliver Perez (1,027) and Wandy Rodriguez (1,004).
Mark Teixeira hit his 20th home run of the season, making him the sixth player in history (and the only switch-hitter) to hit at least 20 in each of his first 10 seasons. The others are Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews, Frank Robinson and Albert Pujols. Teixeira has 334 homers, the ninth most for any player through his first 10 seasons, and trails Ernie Banks by one. Teixeira's 334 are the most for any switch-hitter in his first 10 seasons.
Matt Kemp went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs in the Dodgers' 10-0 win over the Giants. It is the second game in Kemp's career in which he had three extra-base hits against the Giants. No other Dodgers center fielder in the live-ball era has had more than one.
The Nationals defeated the Brewers, 4-1, behind Jordan Zimmermann's six innings of five-hit, one-run ball. In each of his past five appearances, Zimmermann has gone at least six innings and allowed no more than one run. That streak ties him for the longest in Expos/Nationals history with Steve Rogers (1977), Pedro Martinez (1997) and Livan Hernandez (2003).
The streak is also tied for the second longest in the Majors this year. The Mets' R.A. Dickey put together a six-game streak, and the Angels' C.J. Wilson also had a five-game run.
Josh Willingham hit his 27th home run and drove in two runs, and the Twins defeated the Indians, 12-5. Willingham's 27 homers give him a tie for sixth place in the Majors, and his 18 multi-RBI games are tied for the eighth most. For July, Willingham has a 1.105 OPS, 11 homers (tied with Jason Kubel for the most in either league) and 26 RBIs (second to Teixeira's 27 for the most in the Majors).
The Braves beat the Phillies, 2-1, with Jason Heyward going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Through the end of May, Heyward had a .233/.327/.413 line in 50 games. Since then he has played 47 games and posted a line of .307/.371/.534.
San Diego's Yonder Alonso doubled twice, giving him eight multi-double games this season. That total, already the most in a season for any player in Padres history, is also the most in the Majors since 2009, when Miguel Tejada and Adam Lind each had eight such games.
Most HRs as teammates
Edwin Encarnacion (28)/Jose Bautista (27)
Curtis Granderson (28) / Robinson Cano (22)
Adam Dunn (31) / Paul Konerko (17)
Curtis Granderson (28) / Mark Teixeira (20)
Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko each homered in Chicago's 5-2 win over Texas. Dunn (31 homers) and Konerko (17) have combined for 48 home runs this season. That combined total is tied for the third most for any pair of teammates in the Majors.
The Reds defeated the Rockies, 9-7, to extend their winning streak to nine games -- the club's longest since a 10-game run in 1999. Over the course of this streak, Cincinnati has averaged 5.2 runs scored and 2.8 runs allowed. The streak is the longest in the NL this season and tied for the second longest in the Majors. The Yankees won 10 in a row in June, and the White Sox won nine straight from late May through June 1.
Ike Davis hit three solo homers in the Mets' 6-3 loss to the D-backs. Davis is the seventh player this season to hit at least three in a game, and the ninth in Mets history.
Davis joins Curtis Granderson, Ryan Braun, Josh Hamilton (who hit four), Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez and Kubel in the group of those to hit three this season. His is the first to come in a losing effort.
The other eight Mets to hit three in a game are Jim Hickman (1965), Dave Kingman (1976), Claudell Washington (1980), Darryl Strawberry (1985), Gary Carter (1985), Edgardo Alfonzo (1999), Jose Reyes (2006) and Carlos Beltran (2011). All nine of the Mets' three-homer games came with the club on the road.
Davis is the first player to hit three solo homers in a game since Edwin Encarnacion did so on May 21, 2010.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.