Lorenzo Cain’s happy homecoming helps first-place Brewers win seventh straight
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lorenzo Cain described his night as “once in a lifetime-type stuff.”
Cain homered while reaching base four times in his return to Kauffman Stadium, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night to open their two-game set.
“I wasn’t expecting anything but love,” Cain said after a night filled with ovations and reunions with players and fans, alike.
The victory was the seventh straight for the Brewers, who at 15-9 are in first place in the NL Central Division.
Travis Shaw added a three-run homer for the Brewers, while Zach Davies (2-2) pitched six innings of four-hit ball. Ryan Braun had two hits, walked twice and drove in a run.
Matt Albers, Dan Jennings and Jeremy Jeffress combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
Salvador Perez homered for Kansas City in his return from the disabled list, and Alex Gordon doubled and scored in his return from the DL, giving the slumping Royals their only offense.
Ian Kennedy (1-3) left after allowing four runs over three shaky innings. He took a liner off his ankle in the third but finished the inning before leaving the game.
Cain walked and scored in the third and fifth before going deep off Burch Smith in the seventh. He also made a couple of nifty grabs in center field, that familiar patch of turf he presided over for seven seasons and where he helped the Royals to two American League pennants and a World Series title.
Cain parlayed that success into an $80 million, five-year contract in free agency, returning to the club that drafted him in 2004 and eventually traded him to Kansas City in a deal for Zack Greinke.
He was certainly remembered fondly by the Royals faithful.
Cain got his first standing ovation when he sprinted onto the field for warmups, then got another one when he stepped to bat in the first inning. And when he lined his third homer of the year to right to lead off the seventh, the crowd gave him another round of applause.
“Good fans here. There are certain places that like their guys, and when they do something well for their organization, they’ll remember them forever,” Shaw said, marveling at the reception given to Cain.
Kennedy allowed six hits and a walk. He also failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 273 appearances, the second-longest active streak in the majors.
He had precautionary X-rays taken on his right foot that came back negative.
Cain said he felt some butterflies driving up to the stadium, but they evaporated when he walked into the home clubhouse. He wound up spending almost two hours talking to his former teammates.
“Just a lot of hugs. A lot of sharing stories,” Cain said. “A lot of good times.”
MRI for Thames
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said the team is concerned about Eric Thames. The first baseman jammed his left thumb into the ground diving for a ball in the eighth inning. He exited in the ninth.
“We’re a little concerned about his thumb. We’re going to have to get some tests on it tomorrow. It’s a ligament issue we’re a little concerned about,” Counsell said, acknowledging Thames’ tests will include an MRI.
Should Thames hit the DL, Jesus Aguilar would see extended playing time.
Day off for Arcia
Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia got the day off because of stomach pain, though his ailing ankle was fine.
• Catcher Manny Pina (right calf strain) was activated from the DL and catcher Jacob Nottingham was optioned to Class AAA Colorado Springs.
“Everything is good,” Pina said. “I’ve been feeling good the last three days.”
Pina made his major league debut in 2011, when the Royals called him up.
“I remember going 2-for-4 and we won the game,” Pina said.
Counsell said the club is confident that Pina is physically ready for a reboot after playing 10 games in early April.
Nottingham was 0-for-5 at the plate in his short stint with the Brewers, but Counsell thinks a taste of the majors will bode well for the young catcher.
“The best part was that he had to catch two games where every pitch was meaningful,” Counsell said.
• Left-hander Boone Logan (left triceps strain) threw a simulated game without problems and will join Class AA Biloxi on a rehab assignment.
• Catcher Stephen Vogt (right shoulder strain) is headed to Arizona for at-bats in extended spring training. He could join a minor league club next week.
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin moves up in the rotation to face Kansas City tonight while right-hander Chase Anderson will pitch Thursday against the Cubs. The Royals counter with right-hander Jason Hammel.