Lucroy's best work this season has been behind the plate. So seamlessly has the veteran taken charge of a new staff and guided young arms to success -- Montas included. Under his watch, the 25-year-old pitcher was dominant for much of the day after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
Making just the third start of his career, and first since 2015 with the White Sox, Montas carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his season debut, presumably doing enough to warrant another start in an injury-depleted A's rotation.
Montas' last big league appearance with the A's came 304 days prior -- as a reliever with erratic command. His 2017 big league stint included 20 walks and 10 home runs in 32 innings.
On Sunday, he looked nothing like that pitcher.
"We've been waiting for that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Strikes right away. Fastball velo is always going to be there for him. I thought his two-seamer was really good today, which is what he's been working on. And then his offspeed stuff mixed in to keep them off-balance and make his fastball play that much better."
The right-hander struck out four of his first six batters while averaging 96-97 mph with his fastball, and struck out seven total, holding the D-backs to two walks. He yielded the first of three hits in the sixth to Jeff Mathis but limited the damage to one run, coming on Jake Lamb's sacrifice fly.
"Everything was working for me and the fastball command was really good for me today," Montas said through team interpreter Juan Dorado. "I feel really comfortable as a starter. It's something I've done my whole career and it's something that I want to do. And now that I'm commanding my fastball a little better, it's something that I'm working hard on."
The A's ensured Montas would get a well-deserved win -- his first as a starter -- by manufacturing a run in the home half of the sixth. After Matt Olson and Chad Pinder worked Greinke for two-out walks, Matt Chapman delivered a go-ahead single.
Oakland pulled out the series win despite totaling just six runs all weekend.
"Especially at a time when we haven't exactly been killing the ball offensively, to be able to have some pitching step up and we do enough to get a win is big," Olson said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Following Montas' departure, the A's bullpen produced pristine work, retiring all nine remaining batters -- four via strikeout. Yusmeiro Petit handled the seventh with ease, rookie Lou Trivino fanned two in a clean eighth, and Blake Treinen needed just nine pitches to dispatch the D-backs in the ninth and secure his 12th save. Treinen lowered his ERA to 1.04. Trivino's sits at 0.95.
"It's great when you have three guys going out there that are doing as well as they're doing with Petit, Trivino, and Treinen," Lucroy said. "Treinen and Trivino, their stuff is some of the best stuff I've ever seen coming out of the bullpen, especially the back end. Being a hitter, I wouldn't want to be in the box against either one of those guys. We've got some good arms out there that a majority of the time are gonna shut lineups down."
SOUND SMART Lucroy is 9-for-14 in his career (including postseason) opposite former teammate Greinke, the best mark of any player with at least 10 career at-bats against him.
"I caught him a lot on Milwaukee, had him a couple years," Lucroy said. "I've seen and faced him a lot over the years. He's actually a good friend of mine, too. He hates it when I'm in the lineup, I'll just put it that way."
HE SAID IT "It was a good combination for him. He executed and made pitches and didn't really give us a chance to get extension and drive the baseball." -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, on Montas
UP NEXT The A's will play host to the Rays for four games, beginning with Monday's 1:05 p.m. PT Memorial Day affair. Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.75 ERA) gets the ball and will be working on five days' rest, after tossing seven innings of two-run ball against the Mariners on Tuesday. Cahill, who will be opposed by Tampa Bay righty Chris Archer (3-3, 4.68), has not lost at home this season.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.