ARLINGTON -- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has made himself right at home with the Rangers since being acquired just before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.Lucroy belted two home runs and collected five RBIs in a 3-for-4 effort in the Rangers' 8-5 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Globe
ARLINGTON -- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has made himself right at home with the Rangers since being acquired just before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Lucroy belted two home runs and collected five RBIs in a 3-for-4 effort in the Rangers' 8-5 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Globe Life Park.
"Obviously, the home run is a great way to score some runs quick, and this team was already pretty good at that before I got here," Lucroy said. "It's a really easy lineup to hit in. The coaches work with you every day; you can put in as much work as you want. It's a lot of fun. It's a good environment to get better in."
The former Brewer has hit .303 with an .879 slugging percentage to go along with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 11 games with the Rangers, and he has two multihomer games over the last week. His multihomer game on Friday was the eighth of his career and gives him 19 dingers this year, his season high in his seventh year in the Majors.
"I've seen this type of production from him in Milwaukee," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The type of hitter he is, he is calm at the plate and overall doesn't chase. He doesn't miss his pitches very often. For him to come in and make an immediate impact defensively and offensively is pretty significant."
The acquisition of Lucroy, along with Carlos Beltrán and fellow Brewer Jeremy Jeffress, has sparked life into the Rangers, as they've gone 8-4 since trading for the trio. Their win on Friday -- coupled with a Mariners loss -- increased their lead in the American League West to 7 1/2 games. In the 10 games Lucroy has started, the Rangers are 8-2.
"[Lucroy] means a lot. He's been on fire since he got here," third baseman Adrián Beltré said. "We knew when we acquired him he was a good hitter and good catcher, but he's been above what we expected."
Lucroy's first homer of the night was a three-run shot that traveled into the visitors' bullpen and staked starter Yu Darvish to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. That was enough for Darvish, who gave up four runs (two earned) and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings.
Darvish has felt Lucroy's impact on both offense and defense. Bobby Wilson caught Darvish's first six starts of the season before being designated for assignment on Aug. 1 to make room for the trade acquisitions. Lucroy has caught Darvish's last three starts, and Darvish has a 2.25 ERA in that span.
"I've seen him in the clubhouse early, always studying, so it gives me trust about the pitch calls," Darvish said. "He frames the ball well, so borderline pitches are called strikes. For me that's a big thing."
"The the guy is nasty. It makes my job pretty simple calling the game with how nasty he is," Lucroy said of Darvish. "It's a lot of fun to catch."
The second of Lucroy's homers was a three-run blast that came on a hanging cut fastball from Tigers starter Aníbal Sánchez and traveled an estimated 412 feet into the left-field seats, according to Statcast™. That homer gave the Rangers a brief 6-1 lead before Mitch Moreland immediately followed him with a solo home run. Beltran also went deep in a four-homer night for the Rangers.
"I'm fortunate that I've had some success on pitches up in the zone and I've been able to put some good swings on them," Lucroy said. "This ain't over with. I've got a lot of work left to do, and we've got a lot of games left to win."
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.