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Oakland A’s win behind Jonathan Lucroy’s big night

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Oakland Athletics catcher Jonathan Lucroy looks to the dugout for a sign against the Giants at AT&T Park on Friday, July 13, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Jonathan Lucroy and the rest of the Oakland Athletics’ catchers have struggled offensively this year. In fact, if Lucroy was qualified in plate appearances, he’d be near the bottom 10 in most significant offensive categories. Fortunately, when he has picked up hits, they’ve come at big times, and he knocked in four on Saturday with a single and a three-run homer as the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2.

Lucroy’s RBI single with two outs in the second got Oakland (78-52) on the board, and with two outs in the fourth, he clubbed his third home run of the season to make it 4-0. Following the pattern of his other two homers, this one was critical. The first came in a 2-1 ballgame, the second was a grand slam and this one gave the A’s a cushion for starter Mike Fiers.

Having caught Fiers during their time with the Milwaukee Brewers, Lucroy has caught all four of his starts with Oakland, and the A’s have won all four of those games. Fiers is now 3-0 with the team after holding the Twins to one run over 5 2/3 innings. The one run came on a 455-foot bomb by Miguel Sano, just the 12th on the year for the slugger as he’s battled weight issues throughout the season.

Fiers walked two — more than his prior three starts combined — but he struck out seven, including a critical K of Eddie Rosario with two men on to end the bottom of the third.

Minnesota (61-68) got within two as Tyler Austin took Lou Trivino deep in the seventh after Trivino finished the sixth by getting Sano to ground out. Following the homer, Willians Astudillo was hit by a pitch and Joe Mauer singled off Ryan Buchter, but Jeurys Familia got out of the inning by striking out Logan Forsythe and getting Rosario to fly out to the warning track.

There would be little drama after the seventh as Gabriel Moya surrendered back-to-back RBI doubles in the eighth inning to Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano. Laureano also had a pair of walks, including one to set up Lucroy’s homer.

Familia got through the eighth and Blake Treinen set down the side in order in the ninth to end the game.

Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves dropped to 0-2 in his brief career, allowing five runs on seven hits over five innings.

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