Cain, Hosmer, Morales drive in nine runs in 10-5 victory
By Scott Chasen
KANSAS CITY-- The current Royals lineup is far from a mirror image of the one from Opening Day. With a host of injuries to several of the team's key contributors, including Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon, the team has not only lost three Gold Glovers, but also some of its biggest bats in the lineup.
The injuries put that much more pressure on the 3-4-5 hitters to produce runs. But in the Royals' 10-5 win over the Rays on Tuesday night, that certainly was no issue.
"A big thing, especially for [Lorenzo Cain] and I, was when everybody went down," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "We realized that we had to step up; we had to do our part. We were a big piece of the offense."
For the game, Cain and Hosmer, the No. 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup, combined for five hits and six RBIs. The team also got a boost from an unlikely source, designated hitter Kendrys Morales. Morales had struggled against right-handers, with a batting average below .150 on the year, but smashed a homer to right off Rays righty Brad Boxberger in the bottom of the sixth.
Morales went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, as the trio knocked in nine of the 10 runs scored.
"I feel like whatever happens, we're going to cover it because that's what you have to do," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "If you want to continue to play at a championship level, you have to cover."
In the top of the seventh, bad luck struck the Royals again. Left fielder Brett Eibner left the game after injuring his left ankle. The team later announced he suffered from a left lateral ankle sprain, with more testing to come on Wednesday.
If the Royals are going to overcome another injury, the production will have to remain constant from the middle of the order. On the current six-series winning streak, the team has been able to continually produce runs with Cain and Hosmer stepping up.
"[Alcides Escobar and Whit Merrifield] continue to set the table at the top of the lineup," Hosmer said. "When Cain and I are getting opportunities to drive in runs, we're not missing them."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.