Lucroy slam lifts A's beat Texas 15-3 for 24th win in 31
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jonathan Lucroy should be staying put at the non-waiver trade deadline this time, and the catcher hopes his bat is starting to come around for the Oakland Athletics.
Lucroy hit an early grand slam off former battery mate and potential trade target Cole Hamels to get a big-scoring night started for the surging A's. They went on to their 24th win in their last 31 games, 15-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
"It really would help out this team if I can get going the way I have in the past," Lucroy said. "Most importantly, my job is take care of the pitchers and defensive stuff."
Lucroy, hitting ninth in the Oakland lineup, hit his fourth career slam — his first in more than four years, and only his second homer this season.
"It was big, right away you get four runs like that," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's hit a lot balls hard and deep in the outfield where they ended up being at the track. Not only was it big for us, it was big for him."
Lucroy was traded from Milwaukee to Texas at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2016, then sent to Colorado at the same time last season. Texas was 11-7 in games Hamels started with Lucroy catching
Stephen Piscotty also went deep against Hamels (5-9), the former World Series MVP with Philadelphia who has struggled at home all season.
Hamels allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings, with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit batsman. The lefty is 1-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 10 home starts this season, but 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts away from Arlington.
"Yeah, probably a four or five-game stretch, probably the worst of my career so far," said Hamels, who has lost 13 of his last 20 decisions overall since opening his Rangers career with a 31-7 record after his deadline acquisition in 2015.
Oakland right-hander Brett Anderson (2-2) struck out six over six innings.
It was Hamels' last home start for the Rangers before next Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, whether he's dealt or not.
"No matter what jersey you have on and what team you're playing for, the name of the game is to go out and get good results and win," Hamels said. "Obviously what I'm doing right now is definitely not the case, but I know I'm capable of doing it."
Piscotty ended an 0-for-11 slide with his 13th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth that made it 7-2. He added an RBI double after Hamels was out of the game, when Matt Chapman ended an 18-game homerless span with his three-run shot and had an RBI double. Khris Davis went deep for the 24th time this season.
Eight of Oakland's starters had multiple hits as the A's finished with 18 overall — though they managed none in the final 1 2/3 innings against Rangers outfielders Carlos Tocci or Ryan Rua when they pitched.
"Just got some momentum going, and everybody got involved for the most part," Melvin said.
The A's (58-43) are a season-best 15 games over .500, and their 24-7 stretch since June 16 that is the best in the majors during that span. They still trail Houston and Seattle in the AL West. ... Davis has 22 homers and 49 RBIs in 47 career games against the Rangers.
ON THE MOUND
The Rangers used two position players to pitch in the same game for the first time. They have used 14 different position players on the mound. It was the first career pitching appearance Tocci and Rua.
HALF OF 3K
Rangers SS Elvis Andrus hit a two-run homer for his 1,500th career hit. The 29-year-old Andrus is already in his 10th big league season, all with Texas. His teammate, Adrian Beltre, is the active career leader with 3,117 hits and in his 21st season.
The temperature at first pitch was 99 degrees. It was 107 degrees both Friday and Saturday nights against Cleveland, the highest ever at the Rangers ballpark in its 25th season. It was 102 degrees to start Sunday afternoon's series finale, and reached 108 during the game.
Athletics: Melvin said RHP Daniel Gossett, out since June 4 with a strained right elbow, "had a little bit of a setback" and has stopped throwing. Gossett will see another doctor soon after again feeling some tightness.
Rangers: Slugger Joey Gallo was out of the lineup a day after exiting the series finale against Cleveland with a sprained left ankle. Manager Jeff Banister said he just wanted to give Gallo some extra time.
Rangers lefty Mike Minor (6-6), who pitched only 77 2/3 innings as a reliever for Kansas City last year after missing two full seasons because of shoulder surgery, will reach 100 innings this season when he records two outs in his 19th start for Texas. The A's will recall RHP Frankie Montas (5-2) from Triple-A Nashville.