By Jeffrey Flanagan and Maria Guardado
ANAHEIM -- Lorenzo Cain continued to swing a hot bat for the Royals, homering twice and driving in three runs to extend Kansas City's winning streak to a season-high six games with a 3-1 victory over the Angels on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
Cain opened the scoring with a solo shot in the third, added an RBI single in the fifth and capped his big night at the plate with another home run in the eighth. Cain, who is 13-for-30 (.433) with 11 RBIs over his last seven games, now has six home runs on the road trip and nine of his home runs have come since May 23.
"I'm just swinging at better pitches," Cain said. "That's always the key to this game. Swing at good pitches. When I've gotten good pitches to hit, I've been able to do damage. So that's the biggest difference."
Cain's production helped back a dominant outing from right-hander Ian Kennedy, who flirted with a perfect game en route to tossing six innings of one-run ball and earning his first victory since Sept.11, 2016. Kennedy retired the first 17 batters he faced before surrendering a home run to Cliff Pennington with two outs in the sixth inning, which cut the Royals' lead to 2-1.
"It feels really good," Kennedy said of getting a win. "My last start, I got a hit and a walk and everyone was saying 'Good job.' But I said, 'I'll trade a hit, a walk, anything to get a win.' Some people didn't know I didn't have a win [for a while]. But I'm glad to just get one. Maybe more to come."
It marked Kennedy's second gem of the season against the Angels. On April 16 vs. the Halos at Kauffman Stadium, Kennedy struck out 10 and fired eight shutout innings.
Right-hander Jesse Chavez pitched seven strong innings for the Angels, yielding two runs on nine hits while walking none and striking out four, though he was charged with the tough-luck loss.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pennington break up the perfect game: Kennedy stymied the Angels for five innings before Pennington finally got them on the board with two outs in the sixth with his first home run of the season. Pennington, who started at second base in place of Danny Espinosa, launched a 3-1 fastball to right-center field, bringing the Angels within one. With the blast, Pennington snapped an 0-for-10 funk and collected his first extra-base hit of the year.
"We all knew that it was going on, but just trying to go up there and get a good pitch to hit, just like every at-bat," Pennington said of Kennedy's bid for a no-hitter. "He came right at me with a fastball, and I got it pretty good."
Kennedy navigates trouble: The Angels continued to threaten after Pennington's homer, as Cameron Maybin lined a double down the left-field line, and Kole Calhoun drew a walk to put the potential tying run on second and go-ahead run on first with two outs in the sixth. Kennedy worked out of the jam by inducing a popup from Albert Pujols, keeping the Royals' 2-1 lead intact. Kennedy departed the game after allowing one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
"He's one of the best hitters there is," Kennedy said of Pujols. "There's a reason he has 600 homers. I wasn't really going to give in, but I had to grind it out. I knew Escobar was no slouch. He swung 3-0, it was probably a ball. Then I executed a pitch away, enough where I got an out."
"I know Cliff pretty well. I mean, he's a terrible friend. I told him he's a terrible friend and I was deleting his phone number." -- Kennedy, on former D-backs teammate Pennington breaking up his perfect game
"We're trying to figure out what the rest of the league has that we definitely don't. Every time we see him it's like, 'Golly, everything is on the corner, everything is the same.' When he's making pitches to us, he's making quality pitches." -- Pennington, on Kennedy's dominance against the Angels
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Cain's first blast of the game was his hardest-hit and farthest homer of the season, with an exit velocity of 107 mph and an estimated distance of 436 feet, according to Statcast™.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Rookie right-hander Jake Junis (2-0, 4.67 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals at 7:15 p.m. CT on Saturday. Junis held the Padres to three runs -- on three solo home runs -- in the Royals' 8-3 win over the Padres on Sunday.
Angels: Right-hander Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.05 ERA) will start for the Angels on Saturday in the third game of this four-game series at 5:15 p.m. PT. It will be Meyer's first career appearance against Kansas City.