After months of offseason workouts and a week of full camp and intrasquad games, the Royals finally faced a different opponent on Sunday.
They jumped on the board early, as Billy Butler ripped a two-run homer to left off Rangers starter Colby Lewis. With Johnny Giavotella on base after a walk, Butler turned on an 0-2 pitch for the Royals first runs of the Cactus League season.
It was all they would need.
Luis Mendoza got the first crack at the Rangers lineup and threw two scoreless innings, walking one while striking out another. The only hit he surrendered came on a ball that got through to left field, just out of reach of Alcides Escobar. He retired four batters on ground balls.
The Royals added four more runs in the fifth inning after Lorenzo Cain opened the inning with a hustling double. He scored on a bloop single by Alex Gordon, who moved to third on a Johnny Giavotella double to left. Eric Hosmer got a ball through to center field that was ruled as an error on Ian Kinsler, but Gordon and Giavotella scored. Singles by Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas scored Hosmer for the Royals sixth run.
Kelvin Herrera closed out the game against the Rangers reserves by striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Cain and Giavotella are both looking for a strong spring to ensure their job security. Cain is pretty safe, but Giavotella is being pushed by Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt. Giavotella drew the team’s only walk and both players had two hits apiece. Getz and Betancourt, however, went 0-4 combined and didn’t get the ball out of the infield.
The Royals and Rangers play again tomorrow afternoon in Surprise at 2:05 CST. Bruce Chen is scheduled to start for the Royals and pitch two innings.
The scorecard* is below:
*Scorecard Note: Because it’s spring training, I’m trying out the iScore app on my tablet for the first time. It worked great, other than my own mistake of not entering a full roster of Royals, so when Wil Myers pinch hit for Billy Butler in the seventh inning, it wouldn’t let me go back into the team options and add him to the day’s lineup. So other than that one area, it’s intact. I was going off of the radio broadcast as well while scoring the game, so I half-heartedly tried to monitor pitch locations, and when all the reserves came in at once, it took me an inning to get them entered (after not having them in at first). Due to that, the pitch counts aren’t accurate late. Like I said, it’s spring training, so going forward, I should be able to get all players in beforehand now that I know how chaotic it is to add nine reserves in the middle of an inning.