ANAHEIM, Calif – Ian Kennedy pitched like the 21 game winner he was in 2011. He was efficient with his pitches and never really had any stressful innings through the first five innings of play.
Kennedy (1-6) took a perfect game into the sixth inning when Cliff Pennington of the Los Angeles Angels broke it up with a solo home run, his first of the season. The perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout all gone on one pitch. That seemed to have an effect, as he surrendered a single to the next batter Cameron Maybin and a walk to Kole Calhoun. He then regrouped and found his composure to get Albert Pujols to fly out and end the inning.
That would be the last inning of work for Kennedy. His line on the night was six innings while scattering two hits. He allowed just one run, one walk, with four strikeouts. He threw a total of 97 pitches, with 56 for strikes.
Kennedy reflected on his start “I felt really good. There were some misses in good locations. My off-speed got me out of some trouble. Early on, I was pounding the zone a little earlier and just getting ahead of guys. When I did fall behind, I made some pitches I was able to execute on.”
On the home run to Pennington, Kennedy replied with “I know Cliff (Pennington) pretty well. ‘Joking’ I told him we were no longer friends, and I was deleting his number from my phone. It was just one of those things. At least it was him. I can say that. At least it was one of my friends.” The friendship between the two goes back to their playing days with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This is not the first time Kennedy has had success against the Angels in 2017. In his last start against them on April 16, he pitched eight innings, allowing just two hits and struck out 10.
The Royals (32-34) offense was led by Lorenzo Cain. In the third inning, he blasted his ninth home run of the season, and second in back to back nights. Then in the fifth inning, he singled home Alex Gordon with two outs in the inning to give Kansas City their 2-0 lead.
As if that was not enough, Cain would do it again in the eighth inning. He blasted his second home run of the game, the tenth of the season to extend the lead to 3-1. That would be the final score of the contest.
Cain had this to say on his big hits “I’m trying to come through with big hits and find ways to get guys in.”
This was the fifth time in his career that he has had a multi-home run game. The last time was last Saturday, June 9, 2017, against the San Diego Padres.
The west coast seems to be just fine for Cain. Through today’s game, he is 13-for-30 with six home runs and 10 RBI. Cain doesn’t get caught up in the numbers, “I’m more of a day to day type of guy. I’m just hopeful for the next game. I’m just trying to improve my swing each and every day.”
Playing centerfield, Cain was able to get a good view of how dominant Kennedy was and he talked about that “He was fantastic. He was locating really well. Going in and out on all the hitters. Mixing in his breaking ball. He just kept them off balance the entire night. We definitely need that kind of start from him.”
Manager Ned Yost was pleased with both players’ performances on the night. “They were both equally impressive. Great night by both of them.” On Kennedy, “He just pitched a fantastic game.”
On Cain’s offensive night.” Lo is just really on a roll since we have been in California. Really been swinging that bat great. Two homers, a two-out RBI base hit.”
For Los Angeles (35-36), Jesse Chavez pitched well. By the numbers, Chavez had a quality start. He pitched seven innings, and only gave up the two runs. He did surrender nine hits, but had zero walks and five strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Chavez (5-7) was able to find positives in his outing. “The tempo was there. The rhythm was there. Being able to utilize what we’ve been working on, and hammering it out. I’ll take it and build off it and run with it.”
Pennington, who celebrated his (33rd) birthday yesterday, had this to say on his big home run, “Trying to go up there and get a good pitch to hit. Typical normal every at bat. He came right at me with a fastball, and I got it pretty good.”
He wasn’t done either. Earlier in the game, Pennington jumped up to snare a line drive and then gunned to first to complete the double play. “It was a big situation. I got the ball. The dude hit it really hard. I took a peak to third first, as that was more in my line of sight. Then saw the runner at first and threw it over there.”
The Royals are on a run. They have won six in a row, and eight of their last 10. This has allowed them to climb up in the standings and trail the Minnesota Twins, the division leaders by just three games.
Next up is game three of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch at 5:15 MST