Sports

Lorenzo Cain gets two hits as the AL wins All-Star Game 6-3

American League manager Ned Yost of the Royals had a big smile on his face as he gestured to the crowd during introductions before Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
American League manager Ned Yost of the Royals had a big smile on his face as he gestured to the crowd during introductions before Tuesday’s All-Star Game. AP

Lorenzo Cain spun around as a clubhouse attendant handed him an All-Star Game cap and a Sharpie. A few hours before starting Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, when he played a critical role in a 6-3 American League victory, Cain was already drained. His itinerary the past two days was packed with activity, stretching into the early hours of the morning. Even his right hand felt fatigue.

"I’m tired of signing stuff," Cain said inside the visitors’ clubhouse at Great American Ball Park. "It’s been a lot. It’s been a lot. Between the pictures and the autographs? I pretty much flew by the red carpet, because I felt like I was going to be out there all day."

But still Cain marked the hat with his signature. His smile was wide and irrepressible, even before he became the only player in the game to record two hits. He threaded a single up the middle off World Series nemesis Madison Bumgarner. He roped an RBI double off reigning National League Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw. He looked like a star.

Cain is no longer an injury-prone, offensively-challenged role player, the man who vexed team officials for years with his endless string of ailments. He may be Kansas City’s most important player as the Royals attempt to return to the World Series.

As the second half approaches, the Royals may lean upon Cain to power their lineup. Alex Gordon is out until September. Since June 1, Eric Hosmer has a .651 OPS and Mike Moustakas has a .676 OPS. Cain leads the club with a .316 batting average and a .491 slugging percentage. On Tuesday, facing the game’s best, he displayed his burgeoning offensive talent.

"I had a blast," Cain said. "It definitely helped to get a few hits as well. It was definitely nice."

The victory granted home-field advantage in the World Series to the American League. It was a subject manager Ned Yost stressed in an impassioned speech to the players on Monday. He introduced each member of the roster, saving the last for Anaheim first base Albert Pujols, who was playing in his 10th All-Star Game.

The Royals brought six players to this game, with Alex Gordon resting his injured groin back in Kansas City. Five were first-timers, and they relished the experience.

Cain was not the only Royal to contribute to the game’s fabric. Wade Davis struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning. Mike Moustakas resembled a prop in Reds closer Aroldis Chapman’s ninth-inning string of devastation. Chapman struck out the side, including Moustakas, who came off the bench to pinch-hit. Chapman finished Moustakas off with a 103-mph fastball.

"I felt like we had a good relationship," Moustakas quipped about Yost.

Moustakas was finishing up a postgame meal next to Cain. He maintained a deadpan delivery as he described the encounter.

"It was a tough at-bat," Moustakas said. "Coming in and seeing 103 from the left side."

"That’s hot!" Cain said. "That’s hot!"

"He’s phenomenal," Moustakas said.

Behind them, their teammates were preparing to fly to Chicago to start the second half. Alcides Escobar smacked a fifth-inning single. Salvador Perez struck out twice, but reached in the fourth on a wild pitch by Bumgarner. Kelvin Herrera did not get a chance to pitch.

So the spotlight belonged, mostly, to Cain. He was trumped by Angels superstar Mike Trout, who hit a leadoff homer on the fourth pitch of the night. Trout won the game’s Most Valuable Player award for the second year in a row. He received a trophy and a new Chevrolet.

"The rich get richer," Cain crowed, when he heard Trout took the honors. Later he joked, "I’d have definitely taken one of those cars."

Instead, Cain had to settle for an experience of a lifetime. He got to fly his mother, Patricia, to the All-Star Game. He met Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. He collected an extra-base hit off Kershaw, the unanimous choice for the game’s best pitcher. He could have never imagined moments like this – Lorenzo Cain, an All-Star? – until the Royals took flight last October.

"I did a lot of things here that I probably never did [before]," Cain said. "I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s something I’ll remember."

The team did not have to look far for a reminder of the World Series. The fourth inning allowed for a reprise of Kansas City’s most painful playoff moment. After Cain singled off Bumgarner, Perez stepped into the box with two outs. The last time these two faced off, Alex Gordon stood at third base and a sold-out crowd at Kauffman Stadium clasped their hands in prayer.

"We talked a little bit in the dugout," Perez said. "It was just like the World Series."

The narrative on Tuesday was not tidy. The pair dueled for nine pitches. The last was a full-count curveball in the dirt. Perez swung and missed, but the ball rolled past catcher Buster Posey. Perez was safe at first, but Houston second baseman Jose Altuve grounded into an out to end the frame.

An inning later, the American League broke the deadlock with a two-run flurry. Yost and Cain played key roles.

With two on and two out, Yost called upon a left-handed hitter, Prince Fielder, to face Kershaw. Fielder responded with an RBI single.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s left-handed or right-handed," Yost said. "In that situation, I felt good about Prince doing exactly what he did."

Cain did him one base better. Kershaw opened the at-bat with a 94-mph fastball. Cain did not hesitate. He smoked a grounder down the third-base line. His body may have felt tired when he arrived at the park. But he looked like they belonged.

Hear manager Ned Yost on how the American League was able to beat the National League in the 86th All-Star Game.

His story has been told, but it worth repeating. Cain did not play organized baseball until he was a sophomore in high school. He only tried out because he was cut from the basketball team. He nearly quit in the minors, because the game tormented his mind and taxed his body.

Now he is a millionaire. An All-Star. A potential superstar, a player whose ceiling continues to rise each day.

Outside the clubhouse his wife, Jenny, was cradling their son, Cameron. Nearby was his mom. Patricia Cain never misses Lorenzo’s games. "I’m just glad he got some hits," she said.

The second half beckoned. Cain will play a sizable role in Kansas City’s defense of their American League crown. He intended to spend the next two days laying low in Chicago, resting his legs, playing with his son. He could savor this whirlwind trip to the Queen City for the rest of his life.

"It was a lot," Cain said. "I will admit. It was a lot going on. I definitely was not used to it. But I enjoyed all of it."

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

AL All-Stars 6, NL All-Stars 3

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

American League

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

 

Trout cf

3

2

1

1

1

1

.333

2-B.Holt pr-lf

1

1

0

0

0

1

.000

Donaldson 3b

0

0

0

0

2

0

a-M.Machado ph-3b

2

1

1

1

0

0

.500

i-Moustakas ph-3b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Pujols 1b

2

1

0

0

1

1

.000

Teixeira 1b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

N.Cruz dh

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

b-Fielder ph-dh

1

0

1

2

0

0

1.000

L.Cain rf

3

0

2

1

0

0

.667

J.Martinez rf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

A.Jones lf

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

c-Gardner ph-lf-cf

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

S.Perez c

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Vogt c

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

f-Ru.Martin ph-c

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Altuve 2b

2

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Kipnis 2b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

g-Dozier ph-2b

1

1

1

1

0

0

1.000

A.Escobar ss

2

0

1

0

0

0

.500

d-J.Iglesias ph-ss

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Totals

34

6

7

6

4

15

 

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

National League

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

 

McCutchen cf

3

1

1

1

0

1

.333

Pollock cf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Frazier 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Arenado 3b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Harper rf

3

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Upton rf

1

0

1

0

0

0

1.000

Goldschmidt 1b

3

1

1

0

0

1

.333

A.Gonzalez 1b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Posey c

2

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Molina c

1

0

1

0

0

0

1.000

h-Grandal ph-c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Rizzo dh

2

0

0

0

0

0

.000

e-Tulowitzki ph-dh

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

j-Braun ph

1

1

1

0

0

0

1.000

Jh.Peralta ss

1

0

1

1

1

0

1.000

1-B.Crawford pr-ss

1

0

0

1

0

0

.000

Pederson lf

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Bryant lf

1

0

0

0

1

0

.000

LeMahieu 2b

2

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Panik 2b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Totals

33

3

6

3

2

9

 

TableStyle: SP-basebyinningsCCI Template: SP-basebyinnings

AL

100

020

210

6

7

2

NL

010

001

001

3

6

0

a-flied out for Donaldson in the 5th. c-struck out for A.Jones in the 5th. d-struck out for A.Escobar in the 6th. f-struck out for Vogt in the 8th. g-homered for Kipnis in the 8th. h-grounded out for Molina in the 8th. i-struck out for M.Machado in the 9th. 1-ran for Jh.Peralta in the 5th. 2-ran for Trout in the 7th.

E: Britton, Donaldson. LOB: AL 6, NL 6. 2B: M.Machado, L.Cain. 3B: Braun. HR: Trout, off Greinke; Dozier, off Melancon; McCutchen, off Archer. RBIs: Trout, M.Machado, Fielder 2, L.Cain, Dozier, McCutchen, Jh.Peralta, B.Crawford. SB: B.Holt, Upton. SF: Fielder, B.Crawford.

Runners left in scoring position: AL 3 (Altuve, Gardner 2); NL 3 (Pederson, Tulowitzki, Grandal). RISP: AL 3 for 6; NL 1 for 7. Runners moved up: Teixeira, Posey.

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

AL

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Keuchel

2

2

1

0

0

1

31

0.00

F.Hernandez

1

0

0

0

0

1

8

0.00

Price (W)

1

0

0

0

0

2

11

0.00

Archer

1.1

1

1

1

1

1

20

6.75

Britton

0.2

1

0

0

0

1

15

0.00

Betances

1

0

0

0

1

1

20

0.00

W.Davis

1

1

0

0

0

2

16

0.00

Perkins

1

1

1

1

0

0

9

9.00

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

NL

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Greinke

2

1

1

1

1

4

39

4.50

G.Cole

1

0

0

0

1

1

18

0.00

Bumgarner

1

1

0

0

0

1

18

0.00

Kershaw (L)

1

3

2

2

1

1

22

18.00

deGrom

1

0

0

0

0

3

10

0.00

Fr.Rodriguez

1

1

2

2

1

0

20

18.00

Melancon

1

1

1

1

0

2

17

9.00

A.Chapman

1

0

0

0

0

3

14

0.00

Holds: Britton, Betances. WP: Keuchel, Bumgarner.

Umpires: Home, Tim Welke; First, Jerry Meals; Second, Paul Schrieber; Third, Ron Kulpa; Left, James Hoye; Right, Alan Porter. Time: 3:02. Att: 43,656.

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