Cain, Cabrera deliver big hits in Twins’ 5-4 win over Royals
MINNEAPOLIS — Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain wanted an opportunity to make up for a costly error in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.
Thanks to a few extra pitches, Cain got that chance — and delivered.
After home plate umpire Marty Foster ruled Cain did not go around on a check swing in the top of the seventh inning, Cain capitalized with a two-run triple that held as the winning hit in the Royals’ 5-4 victory over the Twins.
It made up for an error that wound up resulting in two Twins runs when Cain dropped a ball one inning earlier.
“I wanted to come through for the guys, especially after dropping that ball in the outfield,” Cain said. “To come through with a big hit right there was much needed, not only for me but for this team as well.”
Cain’s check swing came with two outs in the top of the seventh and runners on first and second. His liner to center field after the no-call hit off the wall in center field, scoring Alcides Escobar and Whit Merrifield.
Though Cain was thrown out at the plate, the damage was done after the Royals outfielder received new life in the at-bat.
“I think in that situation, I think somebody’s getting thrown out any way it gets called. That’s a 50-50,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Fifty percent of the time you’ll see it called. Fifty percent of the time you don’t. The guy that’s on the non-receiving end of it is probably going to be pretty upset in that situation. So coming off of that, it was a huge hit.”
Twins manager Paul Molitor was ejected by Foster after arguing the call. It was the second ejection of the season and sixth of his managerial career for Molitor.
“Obviously I thought he went too far and it’s pretty simple,” Molitor said of the no-call. “Marty must not have got a good look at it, so he turned it over and we didn’t get the call. Game on the line, I thought he went plenty far enough to get that call, but we didn’t get it.”
Minnesota entered with a one-game lead for the second wild-card spot. The Twins are trying to hold off the Los Angeles Angels and a host of other teams for the final playoff spot in the American League.
The Royals, meanwhile, bounced back from Saturday’s 17-0 rout and left Minneapolis with two wins in the weekend series. Kansas City is trying to keep its wild-card hopes alive, and Sunday’s win certainly helped.
“It just shows the character of our team, flushing that game yesterday,” Yost said. “This game wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. We had to scratch and claw and fight for this win. We leave here with it.”
One day after hitting two homers and driving in six runs, Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar stayed hot. His two-run blast in the fifth inning — two batters after a leadoff triple by Byron Buxton — put Minnesota up 2-1. It was the 15th home run of the season for Escobar.
Kansas City (67-68) wasted no time responding. A leadoff single in the sixth by Cain was followed by a two-run shot off the bat of Cabrera for a 3-2 Royals lead.
Minnesota (71-65) took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth. After Cain’s error kept the inning alive, Buxton blooped a two-run single into the outfield to put the Twins up 4-3. Both runs were unearned for starter Ian Kennedy, who was lifted before the final out of the sixth.
Twins starter Ervin Santana fell just shy of lasting seven innings. He was taken out with two outs in the sixth. Cain’s check swing came one batter after Santana’s exit as Alan Busenitz served up the triple and was hit with the loss.
NOTES: The Twins activated C Jason Castro from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Castro last played on Aug. 23 but passed his final concussion test in time to be back on the active roster for the series finale. Chris Gimenez got most of the starts at catcher when Castro was sidelined. ... Minnesota will start RHP Aaron Slegers on Wednesday against Tampa Bay, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. Slegers, who is with Triple-A Rochester, has made just one career start in the majors and allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings against Cleveland on Aug. 17. Slegers will take RHP Dillon Gee’s spot in the rotation. ... The Royals are considering RHP Sam Gaviglio to start Thursday’s game, manager Ned Yost said. Gaviglio made his MLB debut earlier this season with Seattle and was 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) with the Mariners. Kansas City claimed Gaviglio off waivers on Friday.