The Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif.–For a guy who has been a middle-of-the-order hitter most of his career, Jonathan Lucroy is quite comfortable anchoring the bottom of the Athletics’ lineup.
Oakland’s veteran catcher proved that once again after convincing manager Bob Melvin to let him play in a day game following a night one.
Lucroy drove in four runs to match his season high as the A’s completed a season sweep of Toronto, beating the Blue Jays 8-3 yesterday.
“This is a workhorse; a guy that expects to be back there,” Melvin said of Lucroy.
“He had eight or nine RBIs in his last 10 games and had four more today.
“Not only is he doing his job behind the plate, he’s picking up the pace offensively and driving in some runs, too,” he added.
The A’s won all seven games between the two teams this year for their first season sweep of the Jays.
Oakland also moved into a tie with Seattle for the second wild-card spot. The Mariners lost 8-3 to Houston.
Franklin Barreto homered and had three RBIs for the A’s. Lucroy added three hits.
“When you have a real deep lineup, sooner or later someone in the lineup’s going to get you,” Lucroy said.
“Might not be the first five guys, might not be the last four guys,” he reasoned.
“It could be anyone in between.”
Russell Martin homered for Toronto.
“All three days we didn’t get really any shutdown pitching at all from our bullpen guys,” Jays’ manager John Gibbons noted.
“We haven’t been scoring much, either.”
Sean Manaea (10-7) bounced back from a shaky outing in Colorado, pitching effectively into the seventh inning and allowing one run while frequently working through traffic.
He gave up five hits, struck out five, and walked two.
Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (4-8) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings.
“They did a great job of putting the ball in play, early in the count and late in the count,” Stroman said.
“Frustrating. My stuff felt great.”
Oakland backed Manaea with plenty of offence–most of it supplied from the bottom half of the lineup.
The final five A’s batters combined for 11 hits and drove in seven runs.
“We don’t have a lot of experience overall in our lineup, but we have guys that can swing it and guys that can hit up and down,” Lucroy noted.
“It’s really cool to be a part of,” he added.
“Whenever you have that kind of depth in your lineup, it’s devastating for starting pitchers that we’re facing.”
Lucroy, the No. 8 hitter, had a two-run single in the second, an RBI double in the fourth, and an RBI single in the sixth.
Barreto followed Lucroy in the lineup and had a two-run double in the sixth and homered in the eighth.
Barreto started in place of all-star second baseman Jed Lowrie.
Russell hit his ninth homer–a two-run drive off Ryan Buchter–in the eighth.
Elsewhere in the AL, Cleveland blanked Minnesota 2-0, Baltimore topped New York 7-5, Houston beat Seattle 8-3, Tampa Bay upended L.A. 7-2, and Kansas City doubled Chicago 10-5.
Detroit beat Cincinnati 7-4 in interleague play.