Home / SPORTS / Angels / KC Royals-LA Angels game recap, box score, June 16, 2017

KC Royals-LA Angels game recap, box score, June 16, 2017

Lorenzo Cain clutched his cell phone in his right hand and leaned back in a leather chair here on Friday, relaxing inside the visitors clubhouse at just past 4 p.m.

“It’s one of those days,” he said. “I need a Red Bull.”

On the other side of the room, Royals teammate Salvador Perez watched video on a computer monitor. A few feet away, a collection of Royals relievers lounged in recliners and watched the second round of golf’s U.S. Open. In the hours before a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, a performance that stretched a winning streak to six games and pushed the Royals back into contention in the American League Central, Cain let out a sigh.

He was tired. His muscles were sore. He had shown up early to work out inside the weight room at Angel Stadium, and now he needed to rest.

Cain, of course, is a classic sandbagger. He struts around the outfield with a noticeable limp. He grimaces after sensational catches. To watch him react after gracefully chasing down a ball in the outfield gap is to see a man in need of a day off or perhaps another Red Bull. So here was Cain again on late Friday night.

He had finished 3 for 4 with two solo homers and three RBIs in the 3-1 win. He had recorded his sixth homer in seven games on this California road trip. And he had piled up his eighth blast in his last 13 games. And when it was over, Cain was concerned about his body again.

“Time for the cold tub,” he said.

The Royals (32-34) are white hot once again, owners of the longest winning streak in baseball, winners of eight of 10, and back to within three games of first-place Minnesota, which lost to Cleveland on Friday night. Starter Ian Kennedy took a perfect game into the sixth and earned his first victory since Sept. 11, 2016. Cain resembles the dynamic center fielder who finished third in the American League MVP voting in 2015.

In his last 13 games, Cain has clubbed eight homers, including a pair of multi-homer games on this road trip. In seven games in California, he is hitting .433 with a 1.033 slugging percentage. Since June 3, he has raised his slugging percentage from .361 to .467.

“He’s hot,” Royals manager Ned Yost. “He’s feeling good. The ball looks big to him. He’s on everything.”

For Cain, a former All-Star and ALCS MVP, the power-laden stretch has rounded out a somewhat odd offensive season. For two months, he existed as an on-base machine while exhibiting little power. He was on pace to shatter his career high in walks. Yet on June 2, he had just two home runs.

On most days, Cain said his swing felt off. There were good days, he said. And he was still grinding out at-bats. But he did not feel like himself. That has changed across two weeks in June.

“I’m just swinging at better pitchers,” Cain said. “Laying off the sliders in the dirt. Laying off bad pitches.”

How staggering has the power production been? In his career, he has hit more than 10 home runs in a season just twice, his career high of 16 coming in 2015. In the span of these last 13 games, he has matched his home run total from an injury-plagued 2016. For 13 games, he has barreled baseballs at a dizzying rate. Entering Friday, Cain had registered “hard or medium contact” in 90 percent of balls in play during the run. And then, of course, he hit homers off Angels starter Jesse Chavez and reliever Keynan Middleton.

“I’ve been hitting a lot of line drives out,” Cain said. “I’ve been squaring the ball up well.”

If Cain was the offensive star, Kennedy was his equal on the mound. Kennedy allowed just one run in six innings, offering his best performance since April 22. As he started just miles from his childhood home in Huntington Beach, Calif., he retired the first 17 hitters of the game, moving on from a lull that had taken hold after a hamstring injury in early May.

“He was absolutely building to this,” Yost said.

For Kennedy, it has been a season of streaks. He was dazzling in early April. He crashed into a wall after the hamstring issue in May.

On April 16, for instance, he tossed eight scoreless innings against the Angels in a 1-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium. He opened the performance by retiring the first nine batters of the game and taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He would allow just two hits while striking out 10. On Friday, the suspense lasted even longer.

Kennedy retired the first 15 batters of the game in 60 pitches. As the sixth inning began inside Angel Stadium, the crowd began to sense the moment. Every ball and strike was accompanied with a murmur or cheer. Kennedy retired the first two hitters of the inning, striking out Martin Maldonado on a 3-2 fastball, before Cliff Pennington stepped to the plate.

Kennedy fell behind 3-1, missing on consecutive fastballs before laying a 91 mph heater across the middle of the plate. He did not wish to walk Pennington.

“I didn’t expect to give up a home run there,” Kennedy said.

Pennington barreled the pitch and drove it out to right field for his first homer of the season, ending the perfect game and shutout with one swing. Kennedy resorted to humor to feel better about the execution.

“I know Cliff pretty well,” he said, referencing their time together as teammates in Arizona. “I told him he’s a terrible friend.”

Kennedy would allow another double to Cameron Maybin and issue a walk to Kole Calhoun before coaxing a fly-out from Albert Pujols.

Moments later, he headed back to the dugout after a long inning, his night over. As he crossed the first-base line he turned back toward home-plate umpire C.B. Bucknor and screamed in his direction.

“I thought I struck out Cam and wound up giving up a double,” Kennedy said. “I thought I threw an 0-0 strike to (Pennington). I mean, he was missing pitches for them, too. He does that.”

By the end, it did not matter. For another night, music played inside the Royals clubhouse. Cain finished a postgame interview and stood up, heading for the cold tub.

“The confidence is through the roof,” Cain said. “We’re playing great baseball right now.”

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.294

Bonifacio rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.258

Cain cf

4

2

3

3

0

1

.283

Hosmer 1b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.310

Perez c

4

0

1

0

0

1

.279

Moustakas 3b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.282

A.Escobar ss

4

0

1

0

0

0

.198

Moss dh

4

0

1

0

0

0

.182

Gordon lf

4

1

1

0

0

2

.196

Totals 36

3

10

3

0

5

Los Angeles

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Maybin cf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.262

Calhoun rf

3

0

0

0

1

1

.237

Pujols dh

4

0

0

0

0

0

.232

Y.Escobar 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.270

Valbuena 1b

2

0

0

0

0

0

.174

Cron ph-1b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.221

Simmons ss

3

0

0

0

0

0

.274

Revere lf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.208

Maldonado c

2

0

0

0

0

1

.250

Young Jr. ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.310

Graterol c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.256

Pennington 2b

3

1

1

1

0

2

.226

Totals 30

1

3

1

1

6

Kansas City

001

010

010

3

10

0

Los Angeles

000

001

000

1

3

0

LOB—Kansas City 6, Los Angeles 3. 2B—Bonifacio (7), Perez (13), Maybin (12). HR—Cain (9), off Chavez; Cain (10), off Middleton; Pennington (1), off Kennedy. RBIs—Cain 3 (26), Pennington (8).

Runners left in scoring position—Kansas City 3 (Hosmer, Moss, Gordon); Los Angeles 1 (Pujols). RISP—Kansas City 1 for 8; Los Angeles 0 for 1.

LIDP—Bonifacio.

DP—Los Angeles 1 (Pennington, Valbuena).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Kennedy, W, 1-6

6

2

1

1

1

4

97

5.03

Minor, H, 7

1

0

0

0

0

0

16

2.12

Soria, H, 10

1

1

0

0

0

2

15

3.54

Herrera, S, 14-16

1

0

0

0

0

0

11

4.94

Los Angeles

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Chavez, L, 5-7

7

9

2

2

0

4

86

4.85

Middleton

1

1

1

1

0

0

19

3.00

Norris

1

0

0

0

0

1

11

2.59

Umpires—Home, CB Bucknor; First, Mark Carlson; Second, Manny Gonzalez; Third, Fieldin Culbreth.

T—2:38. A—34,184 (43,250).


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