Yost, Cain on Royals taking 2-0 lead in ALCS

While the Royals didn't predict it, they didn't rule out the notion of leaving Camden Yards with a two games to none lead in the American League Championship Series with three games in front of their home fans waiting.

Outfielder Lorenzo Cain had a ton to do with the latest victory, going 4-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and two spectacular catches - one of which robbed J.J. Hardy of extra bases to start the sixth.

Along with showing his impressive range and glove, Cain is batting .750 with two doubles in the ALCS after hitting .301/.339/.412 during the regular season. Kansas City manager Ned Yost is thrilled the rest of the country is getting the opportunity to see the kind of player Cain has become on such a big stage.

lorenzo-cain-diving-catch.png"I'm really happy about it, and he had a great day today - four hits, made some great plays in the outfield, none bigger for me than that ball that J.J. Hardy hit down the right field line. Came out of nowhere and caught it," Yost said. "I thought for sure that ball was going to drop when it first left the bat, and then all of a sudden here he comes and makes the play. The country's seeing a very exciting player in Lorenzo Cain."

Cain said he doesn't take more pride in one side of the ball or the other. He's just pleased to be contributing however he can.

"I want to be an all-around player," he said. "I want to be able to swing the bat and steal bases and play solid defense. That's what I pride myself on, just being a complete player. I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm still working to improve each and every day. I'd say the hard work's definitely paying off right now. I've just got to keep it going."

Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar came to the Royals in the same 2010 blockbuster that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers. Escobar hit the go-ahead RBI double in the ninth on Saturday to break a 4-4 tie before Cain's RBI single provided an insurance run in a 6-4 win over the Orioles.

Yost views that deal as a critical juncture for the franchise, a moment that contributed to getting the Royals to within two wins of reaching their first World Series since 1985.

Yost, who managed the Brewers from 2003-08 before being hired by the Royals in 2010, knew both players well from his time in Milwaukee.

"It was the start of our championship team. That was the start of putting together a championship-caliber baseball team," Yost said after the Game 2 win. "To get two guys as athletic as they are in a trade - we got Jake Odorizzi, too, who's a pretty darn good pitcher with Tampa, but we flipped Jake for (James) Shields and Wade Davis. It was just the start of putting together this championship group. That's where it started with that Greinke trade. But both of those guys, boy it's sure fun to watch them evolve over the last couple years and really get to this point in their careers where they're fantastic players."

They've contributed to the Royals' transition from up-and-coming club to team on the brink. But Yost wouldn't say Kansas City has fully shed its underdog status.

"I think we came into this series the underdog and our guys, they don't really pay attention to that," he said. "I don't think they mind being the underdog because they have a lot of confidence in their abilities. But they're playing their best baseball of the year right now and it's sure the best time to play it."

Yost doesn't care if his offense is getting it done with a series of bloops and bunts instead of balls scorched all over the field.

"That's good hitting. I'll take bloop hits all day long and they get bloop hits, too," Yost said. "They're a little bit aggravating like (Eric Hosmer's) hit in the first inning to score two runs. You would much rather see a sharp line-drive single than a bloop hit that the shortstop almost catches. It works against your mindset a little bit that, 'Hey, that other club is just real lucky right now.' But we'll take anything we can get like that. Anytime it hits the outfield grass, we'll take it."

The Royals are now 6-0 in the playoffs and are showing few signs of slowing down.

"We're confident. Our team is very confident, but at the end of the day, you've got to go out and do it on the field," Cain said. "So that's what we've been doing as of late and I'd say we've been on a nice run so far. We've got to bounce back, we've got a day off tomorrow and the next day, get back focused and get ready for the Orioles."

Note: Yost also updated Royals starter Yordano Ventura's status after the game. Ventura was removed with two outs in the sixth because of right shoulder stiffness. Yost doesn't expect Ventura to miss any time.

"It started to get a little bit tight and we got him out of the game," Yost said. "I don't anticipate him missing his next start. We'll see how it goes day to day, but I think he's going to be fine. He was all smiles at the end of the day, so I think he felt pretty good about it."

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