Royals do their best work with two outs

Royals do their best work with two outs

KANSAS CITY -- Perhaps the most beneficial byproduct of the Royals' amazing comeback win over the A's in the American League Wild Card Game last fall was a new mind-set.

The Royals truly believe they are never out of a game. And they also believe that offensively, an inning is never over until they say it's over.

That can explain why Kansas City leads the Major Leagues in two-out hits with 90, and it is tied for first with two-out RBIs with Boston with 55. The Royals also have the best batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position (.330).

"It's maturity and confidence and a belief that the guy behind you will keep it going, too," manager Ned Yost said.

But center fielder Lorenzo Cain believes he knows exactly where the roots of this new mind-set originated.

"It all started with the Wild Card Game," Cain said. "If you can come back like that against a pitcher like [Jon] Lester, you can do anything. That's the confidence we have now.

"It's how we roll. Just get on base. We got a lot of guys who can swing the bat and drive us in."

Cain practices what he preaches. He is first in the AL in two-out batting average (.481) and first in the league in two-out on-base percentage (.548).

"Most people shut down [with two outs], because you're one out away from the inning being over," Cain said. "We don't. As a team, that's how we play. We fight to the end."

Even in losses, the Royals don't quit. After getting stifled all night by Detroit left-handed ace David Price on Saturday, Cain homered with, of course, two outs in the ninth to pull Kansas City within one.

Cain's solo shot

"We keep coming at you," Cain said. "I like that. I like the way we play."

First baseman Eric Hosmer agreed.

"It's just believing in yourself, too," Hosmer said. "As an offense, we're putting in better at-bats.

"The game has kind of slowed down for us. Guys let the game come to them and don't try to rise to the situation. And you always have that belief that the guy behind you can do some damage, too, so just get on base. Just keep the line moving."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.