Lorenzo Cain won't allow a sore calf to hinder the most productive season of his career. The Kansas City Royals' All-Star center fielder expects to be available for Thursday night's decisive series finale against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
Cain has set career highs with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs during his stellar season and is batting .385 during a 10-game hitting streak. He homered and went 2 for 3 in Wednesday's 12-1 rout of Detroit (61-71) but left after fouling a ball off of his calf.
Cain and the team said the exit was purely for precautionary reasons.
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"Kind of hurts to walk, but I'll be OK," he said after the AL-leading Royals won for the 18th time in 25 games. "It's a little sore, but I'll be ready to go (Thursday)."
Running away with the Central Division, Kansas City (81-51) is in a good position to rest its regulars from time to time down the stretch.
If Cain does sit, Kendrys Morales could pick up the offensive slack after clubbing a three-run shot for his second homer in as many games. Batting .379 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his last eight, the 32-year-old Morales has never homered in three consecutive games.
He's never homered off Matt Boyd (1-5, 7.12 ERA) but is 4 for 6 with a double and triple against him this season.
Set to make his eighth career start, the left-hander gave up a run in seven innings to beat the visiting Royals 2-1 on Aug. 5 for his first major league victory. Five days later, Boyd yielded three runs and nine hits over 5 1/3 innings of a 4-0 loss at Kansas City.
Boyd also struggled Friday when he gave up three solo homers and two other runs while walking three in six innings of a 5-3 defeat at Toronto. Despite that outing and the fact he's allowed six home runs in his last three starts, manager Brad Ausmus has been pleased with Boyd since he came over in the deal that sent David Price to the Blue Jays on July 30.
"I think he's got a chance to be a good major league pitcher," Ausmus said.
Kansas City has won the last three starts made by Edinson Volquez (12-7, 3.27), but he dropped to 0-2 and saw his ERA rise to 4.85 against Detroit this season after allowing six runs in seven-plus innings of a 7-4 defeat Aug. 12.
That effort began a four-start stretch where the right-hander has alternated poor and solid outings to go 1-1 with a 4.10 ERA. If that trend continues, Volquez might be in for a rough night even though he gave up an earned run in 6 2/3 innings of Friday's 3-2 victory at Tampa Bay.
Ian Kinsler and Anthony Gose are a combined 6 for 13 against Volquez this season. Kinsler drove home Gose on Wednesday as Detroit lost for the 10th time in 12 contests.
Tiger relievers have a 9.72 ERA while issuing 16 walks in the last eight games.