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MIN@KC: Cain drills two-run homer in eighth inning

KANSAS CITY -- Manager Ned Yost has been saying that once the Royals got going, they would be fine.

Well, Thursday night, things got going.

One night after ending a franchise-record 11-game home losing streak, the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-3, to take the series. It was their first series victory since they won two out of three games against the Angels from May 13-15. It was also the first time they've won two in a row since they defeated the White Sox on May 4-5.

"We're starting to come out of it," Yost said. "The offense looks like it's starting to turn the corner."

Whether it's the revamped batting order or the mere presence of Hall of Famer George Brett in the dugout as their new hitting coach, the Royals are starting to show signs of life.

Perhaps the biggest sign of that was the two-run homer that center fielder Lorenzo Cain sent sailing over the left-field wall to seal the victory in the eighth inning.

"That's Lorenzo's swing," Yost said. "I've been waiting for that for a while for him to connect with one. He can hit the ball as hard as anybody, and I mean hard on a line. His homers aren't those big majestic [drives], his are those line-shot homers like we saw tonight. I knew it was just a matter of time before he would get into one."

Cain's second home run of the season came with a runner on third and flew 396 feet into the bullpen off Jared Burton.

"It felt good off the bat," Cain said. "One of the better swings I've had in the last month or so. I've just got to continue to do that, putting good swings on the ball, and hopefully I can and be consistent the rest of the year and find ways to get on base and continue to help my team win ballgames."

His last home run came on April 20 at Boston, 137 at-bats ago. It capped off a four-run inning and led the Royals to their highest run total since a 9-5 victory against the Angels on May 15. They also improved their record to 18-5 when they score four or more runs in a game.

"It was a good ballgame, but there at the end we kind of let it get away," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Burton doesn't have too many nights like that where he doesn't shut them down."

Burton took the loss and dropped to 0-3 on the season.

"This one hurts," Burton said. "We needed this series, and we deserved this series. I went out and gave it up. Either you execute or you get executed. It didn't happen for me tonight."

Starting pitcher Wade Davis and the Royals escaped a shaky start with an error, wild pitch and three unearned runs in the first inning, but they held the Twins scoreless after that.

"The first inning, I had some weird stuff happen, but I told myself to keep it right there -- especially when we scored the two runs, that gives a little bit of extra motivation to bear down and not give in," said Davis.

The only real dark spot in the series finale was that troublesome first inning.

Minnesota's Jamey Carroll reached second on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas, moved to third on a Joe Mauer groundout and scored on a third-strike wild pitch to Josh Willingham, who was safe at first. One out later, Ryan Doumit homered over the right-field wall to bring in two more runs. Doumit is hitting .310 with three doubles, five home runs, 15 RBIs and seven runs in his last 10 games.

"[He] made the one pitch to Doumit, threw him a cutter that he was trying to go in, and it didn't quite get in enough and ended up giving up a two-run homer there for three runs in the first inning, but from that point on he would get himself into trouble and pitch himself out of it and did a great job," Yost said of Davis.

Davis pitched five innings, allowing just four hits with six strikeouts, three walks, one hit batter, one wild pitch and three unearned runs.

"He finds ways to bend a little bit but never breaks, or very seldom breaks," Yost said.

With the pitching under control, the Royals' bats started heating up.

In the bottom of the second, David Lough came up with the bases loaded batting .364 with runners in scoring position and grounded to third. On the play, Butler was forced out at the plate. With the bases still loaded, Chris Getz hit a single to left field to bring home two runs.

The Royals tied it up in the bottom of the sixth, when Salvador Perez's single snuck by second baseman Brian Dozier, and Hosmer, who had doubled, scored.

Equipped with back-to-back wins for the first time in a month, the Royals also took the opportunity to climb out of the basement of the American League Central and take a half-game lead over the White Sox.

"You can see a little bit more chemistry and contagious hitting," Davis said. "You're starting to see it chip away. We're not going to wake up and just be the best team in baseball, you just have to keep chipping away at every part of the game. If we keep doing that, we'll be all right."

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