Royals' bats ignite in victory over Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- The Royals scored early, then held off the Brewers late to secure an 8-5 win on Monday night at Miller Park.
Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar -- both former Brewers -- played their part in roughing up starter Kyle Lohse for five runs in the first five innings before Milwaukee made things interesting by scoring three in the ninth off closer Greg Holland, who was lifted with runners on second and third and none out. Wade Davis came on to get three outs, starting with a strikeout of Ryan Braun, to deny Milwaukee from capturing its fifth consecutive series opener.
"That's a big security blanket to have Wade down there," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You have a six-run lead and you let down your guard. But Wade didn't let that happen."
The Royals extended their AL Central lead to 2 1/2 games with the win combined with the Twins' 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Cain essentially ended Lohse's night with a two-run homer in the fifth, while Escobar got the Royals going in a three-run first inning, scoring a replay-aided run on Mike Moustakas' single to center.
As for hitting a homer against his former team, Cain smiled and said, "It felt great."
Escobar was less interested in the opponent and more concerned with the win.
"I try to play hard against all teams," Escobar said.
Edinson Volquez got the win for the Royals -- he went five innings and gave up two hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Upon review, it's a run: Moustakas' single and Major League Baseball's replay technology combined to produce the game's first run in the first inning. Escobar was initially ruled out at the plate when he tried to score from first on Moustakas' single to left-center. Yost challenged and the replay fairly clearly showed Escobar got his foot onto the plate before catcher Jonathan Lucroy made the tag. The call was overturned. Eric Hosmer added an RBI single and Alex Gordon a sacrifice fly to make it a three-run opening inning.
Escobar at first was convinced he was out.
"I saw the throw come in and I thought for sure I was out," he said. "Then I saw the replay, and I said, 'Yeah, safe.'"
LoCain goes yard: What really put a little separation in the game was Cain's home run in the fifth, a two-run blast that gave the Royals a 5-0 lead. Cain's shot over the left-center-field fence off Lohse -- projected by Statcast™ to land 395 feet from home plate -- was his fifth of the season and first since June 4 against Cleveland.
"He also hit two bullets that were caught," Yost said. "Good night for him. Two hits, the big home run. We had a lot of guys swing the bats better tonight."
Luuuuu-croy: After leading the Major Leagues in two-base hits last season, Lucroy entered Monday stuck on one double in 2015. But he delivered Milwaukee's first two runs with a double to the right-center-field gap in the fifth inning, and hit another RBI double in the ninth.
Making it interesting: Lucroy's hit came amid a ninth-inning Brewers rally against Holland that turned an 8-2 Royals lead into Yost calling for another reliever, Davis, with three runs across in the inning, runners at second and third base, nobody out and Braun due to bat, representing the potential tying run. Davis struck out Braun, retired Adam Lind on a lineout to a leaping Escobar, and induced a game-ending flyout from Aramis Ramirez.
"Our guys put good at-bats together against two really good pitchers," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We got the tying run up there and Braun had a really good at-bat against Davis. Lind hit one right on the nose. We made them work for it."
"I'm still busting my [rear end] doing the things I need to do between starts. It is just not working out the way I want once I take the ball on the mound. I just have to keep working hard to try to figure it out." -- Lohse, who has surrendered a home run in all but two of his 14 starts this season More >
Royals: Right-hander Chris Young will get the ball on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT for the series finale at Miller Park. Young had been scheduled to start on Sunday, but the Royals were rained out in St. Louis. Young (5-2, 2.25 ERA) is coming off his best outing last week against Twins -- 6 1/3 innings, one hit, zero runs.
Brewers: Right-hander Matt Garza will take the mound on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT and has seemingly turned around his season since his five-inning relief appearance in the Brewers' 17-inning win on May 30. Including that outing, he's since gone 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
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