Royals

Lorenzo Cain belts three homers, but the Royals lose to the Yankees 10-7

Tales from a wild day in New York

The Royals lost 10-7 to the Yankees on Tuesday night in New York. That was just the beginning.
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The Royals lost 10-7 to the Yankees on Tuesday night in New York. That was just the beginning.

At just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, Lorenzo Cain poked his head through a doorway inside the visitors clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. Twenty feet away, a cluster of cameras and reporters stood near the corner of the room, waiting for the Royals center fielder, who had turned in a slice of history here on a cool night in May.

A toothbrush jammed in his mouth, Cain surveyed the scene for a moment, then disappeared back behind the door, waiting another 45 seconds to emerge.

“Just a minute,” he said.

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On any other night, perhaps, in any other stretch of season, Cain could have strolled through the clubhouse and enjoyed this moment — a three-homer night in the Bronx against the vaunted New York Yankees. On Tuesday night, in the moments after the Royals’ 10-7 loss, he shrugged and smiled his way through an interview that lasted just more than two minutes.

“I had a good night,” Cain said. “But at the end of the day, we lost.”

How bad is it for the Royals right now? Cain finished 3 for 5 with three homers and five RBIs, an immense individual performance that nearly delivered a soothing victory. And the performance was rendered a mere footnote. The Royals came apart during a disastrous eighth inning, allowing three runs as the defense and bullpen delivered a stinging loss.

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The final letdown was spurred by an error from shortstop Alcides Escobar with one out. The Yankees pounced on the mistake, scoring three runs off reliever Kelvin Herrera and resembling a certain American League team that used to make a living off other teams’ mistakes.

What was once an early-season rut is now a fully-formed funk. The Royals have lost 11 of their last 14 games and sit at 15-17 on the season. What was once a season built on the idea of a minidynasty is now fully focused on just winning a series.

“You keep plugging away — it’ll break here sooner or later,” Royals manager Ned Yost maintained. “When we lose, we lose as a team. We don’t point fingers at the starting pitcher and we don’t point fingers at the offense. When it breaks, we’ll get on a run.”

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On a day in which the Royals were forced to make a change to their starting rotation, starter Kris Medlen was ineffective for the second straight game. The defense offered miscues in the bottom of the third, when Cain misplayed a ball in center field, and again in the eighth, when Escobar booted a routine grounder.

When the Royals arrived in New York on Sunday evening, they checked into the same hotel — the Omni Berkshire — that they stayed at during last season’s World Series. After 32 games this season, the club has failed to approach its championship pedigree.

“It’s not a focus issue,” Yost said, responding to a question about the Royals’ defense. “It’s a human issue. We don’t do it very often. But you make errors.”

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The loss muted the performance of Cain, who became the seventh player in Royals history to homer three times in one game — and the first since Kendrys Morales last season.

The final ledger: Cain punished a 90 mph sinker from Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka in the top of the third, depositing a baseball just beyond the short porch in right field. He doubled up in the top of the fifth, crushing a three-run, 445-foot homer off Tanaka into the bullpen in left field. He then beat Yankees reliever Andrew Miller in the top of the eighth, hitting his second opposite-field homer of the night.

Cain had never had a three-homer night at any level. He’d never hit an opposite-field homer, either.

“Never,” Cain said.

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Cain’s second homer had given the Royals a 6-5 lead, an advantage that held up until the seventh inning. It disappeared after a bizarre inning that was marked by another balk from reliever Joakim Soria and another blown lead.

Soria allowed three hits in the inning and none was hit particularly hard. The Yankees still managed to scratch across two runs. The inning turned after Brian McCann singled and went to second on a balk from Soria, who protested the call to no avail. When the season began, Soria had just four balks in his career. In 32 games this season, he already has three.

“He did (balk),” Yost said. “He just comes set and goes. He’s trying to stop. The umpires are circulating around the crews (about him) because that’s three times in three weeks.”

The balk negated a strikeout of Carlos Beltran, who ended up grounding out to the pitcher. But moments later, Dustin Ackley delivered a broken-bat single to left field and Alex Gordon air-mailed the throw home in an attempt to nail the slow-footed McCann. Moments later, Aaron Hicks gave the Yankees a 7-6 lead with an RBI double.

Hours earlier, Medlen had lasted just two-plus innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. For the Royals, the performance came at the worst time. Five days earlier, Medlen had allowed six earned runs (nine total) in a 13-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Kauffman Stadium. On Tuesday, he was limited by erratic command again, issuing at least three walks for the fifth time in six starts.

“It’s probably the worst stretch I’ve had in my career, my life maybe,” Medlen said.

As Medlen continued, he pondered the frustration of his own performance and this continuing slide.

“If you ride the peaks and valleys of the season, you’re going to be pretty miserable all year, because there’s good and there’s bad all the time,” he said. “You just got to stay in that grey area. I’m just trying to stay there and not completely explode.”

Yankees 10, Royals 7

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Escobar ss

3

0

1

0

1

0

.257

Cain cf

5

3

3

5

0

1

.270

Hosmer 1b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.325

Morales dh

3

0

0

0

0

0

.193

1-Orlando pr-dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

.286

Gordon lf

4

1

1

0

0

2

.234

Perez c

4

0

1

0

0

1

.234

Infante 2b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.247

Cuthbert 3b

4

2

2

2

0

0

.313

Dyson rf

3

1

1

0

0

0

.224

a-Colon ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.250

Totals

35

7

9

7

1

8

New York

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Gardner lf

4

1

1

1

1

1

.240

Castro 2b

3

2

1

0

1

0

.297

McCann c

5

1

3

2

0

1

.286

Beltran dh

5

1

2

0

0

0

.252

Ackley 1b

3

2

1

2

1

1

.143

Hicks cf

3

1

2

1

1

0

.170

Gregorius ss

4

1

2

3

0

0

.229

Headley 3b

4

0

1

1

0

2

.174

Gamel rf

4

1

0

0

0

1

.200

Totals

35

10

13

10

4

6

Kansas City

021

030

010

7

9

1

New York

113

000

23x

10

13

0

a-struck out for Dyson in the 9th.

1-ran for Morales in the 8th.

E: Escobar (6). LOB: Kansas City 4, New York 7. 2B: Gordon (4), Gardner (5), McCann (4), Beltran (6), Hicks (1), Gregorius 2 (5). HR: Cuthbert (1), off Tanaka; Cain (3), off Tanaka; Cain (4), off Tanaka; Cain (5), off Miller. RBIs: Cain 5 (15), Cuthbert 2 (3), Gardner (9), McCann 2 (14), Ackley 2 (3), Hicks (7), Gregorius 3 (12), Headley (3). CS: Hicks (1). SF: Ackley. S: Escobar.

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 2 (Infante, Cain); New York 5 (Hicks, McCann, Gardner, Gregorius, Ackley). RISP: Kansas City 2 for 6; New York 6 for 15. Runners moved up: Gamel, Beltran. GIDP: Gamel. DP: Kansas City 1 (Medlen, Escobar, Hosmer).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Medlen

2

6

4

4

3

0

7.77

Flynn

2

1

1

1

1

2

4.50

Duffy

1

1

0

0

0

1

3.18

Hochevar

1

0

0

0

0

3

4.05

Soria

1

3

2

2

0

0

4.96

Herrera L, 0-1

1

2

3

2

0

0

1.17

New York

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Tanaka

7

7

6

6

0

4

3.11

Miller W, 2-0

1

2

1

1

0

3

0.71

Chapman S, 1

1

0

0

0

1

1

4.50

Medlen pitched to 2 batters in the 3rd.

Holds: Hochevar (4). Inherited runners-scored: Flynn 2-2. HBP: Miller (Morales), Herrera (Castro). WP: Flynn, Chapman.

Umpires: Home, Angel Hernandez; First, Sean Barber; Second, Will Little; Third, Ted Barrett. Time: 3:07. Att: 39,128.

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