The Royals began their first week of Cactus League play this week. Here is a summary of the action.
Saturday, February 25
Royals 7 Rangers 5 - Box Score
A two-run home run in the eighth by Peter O’Brien gave the Royals a win in the Cactus League opener. Pitching prospect Josh Staumont began the game and tossed a shutout inning, but walked two hitters. Salvador Perez led the offensive attack, doubling home a run in the first and slamming a solo home run in the third. Jake Junis was roughed up, giving up five runs in the third inning to tie the game. Jonathan Sanchez and Al Alburquerque each struck out two in an inning of relief.
Sunday, February 26
Rangers 6 Royals 4 - Box Score
Kyle Zimmer gave up a two-run home run in the first, and suffered a noticeable drop in velocity in the second as he gave up another run before exiting having retired just four hitters. Hunter Dozier tripled home a run in the third, and the Royals made a run with three runs in the third, two scoring on a triple by Chase Vallot, his second hit of the day in as many at-bats. Jorge Soler had a tough day, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Miguel Almonte and Brandon League each gave up earned runs in an inning of work.
“It was all right. I wasn’t really going into it worried about results.”
Monday, February 27
Royals 14 Mariners 3 (7 innings) - Box Score
The Royals drilled veteran Yovani Gallardo for four in the first, then poured on six more in the third off Marc Rzepcyznski before the game was called after seven innings on account of rain. Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez each doubled home a run in the first. Perez added a home run in the third, followed by a moonshot by Peter O’Brien. Paulo Orlando also homered in the game.
Cheslor Cuthbert got the start at second base and dropped a pop-fly, although it didn’t matter since the infield fly rule was in effect. Jason Vargas was shaky in two innings of work, giving up three runs, including a home run to Jean Segura. Mike Minor pitched two shutout innings of relief, and Joakim Soria worked around two hits to toss a goose egg on the board.
Tuesday, February 28
Royals 6 Brewers 3 - Box Score
Danny Duffy was shaky, but admitted he was working on mechanics as he gave up two runs in 1 2⁄3 innings of work. The lefty gave up a walk and a long home run to Brewers shortstop Yadiel Rivera. Ryan O’Hearn drew a walk, homered, and scored twice, and Peter O’Brien smashed a two-run home run, his third of the spring. Catcher Brayan Pena added two hits, including a two-run double, and Terrance Gore chipped in with a walk and a single. Matt Strahm tossed two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Wednesday, March 1
Cubs 7 Royals 3 - Box Score
Alcides Escobar ambushed the Cubs with a first-inning home run, but a Paulo Orlando error in the third opened the door to two unearned Cubs runs off Jake Junis. Nate Karns was particularly sharp, needing just 19 pitches to get through two shutout innings. Veteran relievers trying to make the club struggled all day for the Royals. Jonathan Sanchez gave up three singles and a run, Brandon League walked a run home, one of three free passes he issued, and Bobby Parnell was hit hard for three runs in the ninth. Young lefty Scott Alexander looked sharp in a scoreless inning, his second of the spring.
“It’s back-to-back really good outings for him,” Yost said. “He looks strong. He’s got really good sink on his ball. He looks good.”
Thursday, March 2
Royals 3 Rockies 1 - Box Score
Chris Young fared well with two strikeouts in two shutout innings, and Travis Wood gave up one unearned run in his two innings of work in the 3-1 victory against the Rockies regular starters. Joakim Soria also tossed a perfect frame to the heart of the Rockies order. Eric Hosmer launched his first home run of the spring, although there was some confusion at first as to whether it was a home run. Miguel Almonte and Andrew Edwards each had sharp outings, strikeout out a pair in a scoreless inning of work.
Danny Duffy will make one more start for the Royals before leaving to represent Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on March 9. Drew Butera suffered minor oblique tightness. Hunter Dozier has been dealing with a minor wrist injury.