It took center fielder Lorenzo Cain just 9.3 seconds to cross home plate and breathe life back into the Royals during Game 5 of the American League Division Series.
With the Royals trailing by two runs, Cain started the play on first base and took off as soon as Eric Hosmer’s bat struck the ball. The bloop single landed in shallow center field in front of the Astros’ Carlos Gomez, who slid to his seat as the ball arrived.
Cain kept wheeling and scored the crucial first run of the Royals 7-2 victory against the Houston Astros. It was his fourth run of the postseason and he topped out at 20.3 mph according to Statcast.
“He was surprised I sent him, because he didn't know what had happened,” Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele said. “My job is to see what that outfielder does. Like in that instance, he fell on his butt and slipped. Lo was coming full speed, so I could send him like that. I knew he wouldn't be able to get up and make that throw.”
For fans that followed Cain when he was the ALCS MVP in 2014, his speed is nothing new.
Cain reached a top speed of 20.5 mph to score from second on a Hosmer single in the first inning of Game 2. Then, he reached third on a single from Hosmer in the third, accelerating to 19.7 mph. He tapped into his speed again in the fifth inning for a stolen base at 20.4 mph.
Each of Hosmer’s first four hits in the series produced a run, which helped move him into sole possession of second place in franchise history for RBIs in postseason play with 17. He trails only George Brett, who had 23.