The Royals stayed hot. Well, specifically, Lorenzo Cain did.
Now winners of six in a row, Kansas City took down the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 3-1, on Friday evening. The west coast trip magic continued; the Royals have now won six games on the Pacific coast, which I believe is as many as they won from 1969-2016 combined.
Lorenzo Cain, who is the hottest power hitter in the league, hit another home run in the third inning to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. That was the start.
The Royals doubled their lead in the fifth inning when Cain came through with a two-out RBI single. Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield singled to open the frame, but following a double play by Jorge Bonifacio, the Royals needed a two-out knock to score their second run. That’s exactly what Cain provided.
While Cain was mashing on offense, Ian Kennedy was putting together his best start of 2017. He retired the first 17 Angels to start some chatters, but Cliff Pennington, the #9 hitter, ended all of that with a home run in the sixth inning. The perfect game, the no-hitter, and the shutout all vanished instantaneously, and Kennedy gave up a double, then a walk, and then fell behind Albert Pujols 3-0. He eventually got Pujols to popout to end the threat, but it got dicey for awhile.
Oh, and then Lorenzo Cain homered again, because of course he did. That’s two multi-homer games on this trip. Cain, who had no homers until April 30, now has 10 on the year, and an amazing eight in his last 13 games. That’s like what Kendrys Morales did for that two-week stretch last July, but better. I’ve never seen anything like this from a Royals player. It’s spectacular to watch.
More on Cain: it’s the middle of June and his OBP is .358. He’s now slugging .467; it was at .357 on June 1. Remember last year when the Royals had that wild win/loss split when Cain played? They were like, 14 games over .500 when he played and 14 under when he didn’t? He’s always been a key to this team. It’s showing.
Kennedy’s line: 6.0 innings, two hits, one run, and three strikeouts. He finally got a win, improving his record to 1-6. I’m sure he didn’t envision it would practically be Father’s Day before he got a win, but... it happens.
Mike Minor, Joakim Soria, and Kelvin Herrera worked the last three innings to nail down the win. Herrera earned his 14th save.
So like...here’s the thing. Are the Royals good? I think they may actually be good. They’re now 25-18 since April ended. I know that April counts and all, but they appear to be getting things going in a very winnable division.
I’ll be completely honest: I hope they do well enough to avoid selling because, well, I’m selfish. I blast Eric Hosmer on Twitter - I get it. They’re maddening. But the core of this team, well, I can’t bear to watch it get blown apart with a whimper at the deadline. I want to see Moustakas get that record. I want to see all of the cap-tips at the final home game of the year. These guys are Kansas City baseball, and I hope they stay in it long enough to remain Royal through the end of the year.
It’s the Royals first six-game winning streak since July 2015. They’re back to within two games of .500 for the first time since the middle of April. 32-34 is the record.
Tomorrow: the Royals, who are 5-0 against the Angels this year, go for the series with Jake Junis on the hill. He will oppose Alex Meyer.