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Lucroy's grand slam gets A's going in rout

Piscotty, Chapman, Davis also homer as part of 15-run, 18-hit night
MLB.com @JaneMLB

ARLINGTON -- One swing netted the A's four early runs in Arlington on Monday night, and they never looked back.

Jonathan Lucroy belted a grand slam off former Rangers batterymate Cole Hamels in the second inning for a four-run lead, helping the A's cruise to a 15-3 series-opening victory that moved them within 2 1/2 games of the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.

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ARLINGTON -- One swing netted the A's four early runs in Arlington on Monday night, and they never looked back.

Jonathan Lucroy belted a grand slam off former Rangers batterymate Cole Hamels in the second inning for a four-run lead, helping the A's cruise to a 15-3 series-opening victory that moved them within 2 1/2 games of the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.

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For Lucroy, whose power has slipped in recent years, it was just his second home run of the season spanning 261 at-bats. Last year, he totaled six. The season before, 24.

"Boy, that was big," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Right away, to get four runs like that in a ballpark that you figure you have to have some patience, too. The Rangers are back with a full lineup, so to get four runs early was certainly a boost for us. [Lucroy] could use it, too. He's hit a lot of balls hard deep in the outfield somewhere where they end up being at the track, so not only was it big for us, but it was big for him."

Lucroy was brought in during the middle of Spring Training to pilot a young A's staff. That, he's done exceedingly well, making it easier for the A's to look past his meek offensive numbers. It's not so easy for Lucroy, though.

"The past two years, I've been terrible offensively," the veteran catcher said. "You can look at my career numbers and see that. For me, I really want to get going offensively. It really would help out this team if I could get going the way I have in the past, but most importantly my job is to take care of the pitchers and defensive stuff. So I'm going to keep focusing on that and hope my bat comes around."

Winners of 24 of their last 31 games, the red-hot A's -- who forced the Rangers to put two position players on the mound for the first time in club history -- are 15 games over .500 (58-43) for the first time since Sept. 23, 2014.

Following Lucroy's fourth career grand slam, the A's pounded three more homers in Monday's rout to bring their Major League-leading total on the road to 89. Stephen Piscotty launched a two-run blast in the fifth off Hamels for his sixth in his last 13 games and 13th overall.

Video: OAK@TEX: Piscotty launches a 2-run homer in the 5th

Matt Chapman obliterated a Matt Moore changeup in the seventh for his first homer since June 10, a two-run laser that left his bat at 115.2 mph for the hardest-hit A's home run in the Statcast™ era.

Video: OAK@TEX: Chapman smashes A's hardest-hit HR since '15

Khris Davis hit a solo shot in the eighth off Alex Claudio for his third in two days and team-leading 24th overall.

Video: OAK@TEX: Davis cranks a solo homer in the 8th inning

A six-run seventh also featured RBI doubles from Piscotty, Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder, contributing to an 18-hit output at Globe Life Park, 10 of the extra-base variety. Seven different A's players enjoyed multi-hit nights, with Davis and Chapman leading the way with three apiece.

"Just got some momentum going, and everyone got involved for the most part, and it was one of those games where we've been playing so many close games recently that we didn't have to use some of our main bullpen guys, which was a relief," Melvin said. "We've had to use those guys so much."

Lefty Brett Anderson did his part in the background, holding the Rangers to two runs on six hits across six innings, his lone blemish a two-run homer to Elvis Andrus in the third.

Video: OAK@TEX: Anderson allows 2 runs in 6 strong innings

SOUND SMART
Lucroy is batting .333 (10-for-30) against the Rangers this season and .230 (54-for-235) against all other teams.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Chapman wows on defense daily, on this night making an incredible dive to his right and firing a strike to first base to nail another of the game's top-tier defenders, five-time Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre, for the final out of the third inning.

Video: OAK@TEX: Chapman takes hit away from Beltre in 3rd

HE SAID IT
"That was a phenomenal team win. The offense is fun to watch. Just a juggernaut when they get going like that. Some long half-innings there, but it was hot and muggy, so it was nice to come in and kind of cool down a little bit. Starters haven't been asked to do a whole lot here lately, just give us a chance to win." -- Anderson

UP NEXT
The A's will recall right-hander Frankie Montas from Triple-A Nashville to start Tuesday's 5:05 p.m. PT matchup with the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Montas (5-2, 3.35 ERA) will be opposed by lefty Mike Minor, who is 6-6 with a 4.89 ERA.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Jonathan Lucroy