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Royals’ Seth Lugo, 7-0 on road, tries to tame A’s

Right-hander Seth Lugo finally catches a break in the schedule when he and the Kansas City Royals wrap up their three-game road series against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon.

The A’s won the first two matchups, getting a total of five hits from Miguel Andujar in 7-5 and 5-1 victories.

In his first season with the Royals, Lugo (10-2, 2.40 ERA) was 8-1 with a 1.74 ERA before beginning a four-game run against playoff contenders on May 29.

The 34-year-old improved to 9-1 with six innings of six-hit ball in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins to begin the gauntlet but has since pitched to a 5.21 ERA with a 1-1 record in outings against the Cleveland Guardians, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

He did rebound from two subpar efforts to beat the Dodgers 7-2 on Saturday, allowing two runs after giving up a total of nine in 13 innings in losses against the Guardians and Yankees.

The win improved Lugo to 7-0 on the road this season, but he was more impressed with another number afterward.

“I never got to 10 in the big leagues or the minors,” he said of his 10th win of the season. “So getting to 10 was really cool. I was waiting for that one.”

One of the wins in his 9-1 start came when he struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-3 home triumph over the A’s last month. He served up a home run to Seth Brown that day but won’t see him in the rematch with the right fielder having been demoted to the minors on Tuesday.

Lugo has never lost to the A’s, going 2-0 with a 5.68 ERA in three appearances, including two starts.

He will be facing an A’s team that received huge production from the top of the lineup in the past two games, led by Andujar’s 5-for-9 with two RBIs.

“You don’t see these types of hitters that often in the current game … those bat-to-ball skills as well as being able to hit with force,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of Andujar, whose hits in the series have all been singles. “He’s been a real positive to the middle of the order.”

Andujar was surrounded by productive teammates in the two wins. Max Schuemann has one hit, four walks and three runs out of the leadoff spot. JJ Bleday collected three doubles, three runs and two RBIs, and Brent Rooker drove in three runs with three hits.

Hoping for more of the same will be A’s right-hander Mitch Spence (4-3, 3.95 ERA), who is winless in three June starts. He has allowed 10 runs and 23 hits in 18 2/3 innings during outings against the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota.

The 26-year-old rookie also took a loss in a 6-2 setback at Kansas City on May 17 in his first matchup with the Royals. He gave up one run on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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