Remember how it seemed like the Royals were winning games in walkoff fashion twice a week last season? I guess old habits die hard.
Players mobbed Kouzmanoff as the Royals finished off a comeback from an early 5-0 and 6-1 deficit.
Bruce Chen had the start with two innings of work planned, but gave up hits to 7 of the 12 batters he faced. Just one of the hits he gave up all day went for extra bases, but in the first inning a throwing error by Johnny Giavotella allowed Elvis Andrus to score from first on a single by Adrian Beltre. Ian Kinsler scored on the play as well as Beltre moved up to second, then scored after two more hits. Chen opened the second inning by getting a ground out but a Kinsler single followed by an Andrus triple got him in trouble. After Josh Hamilton made the second out of the inning, Ned Yost pulled Chen in favor of right-handed Louis Coleman to face Beltre, who singled, driving in Andrus.
Montgomery wasn’t sharp in his first outing of spring – he threw just 18 strikes in 32 pitches – but he was able to induce a ground ball double play in his first inning and retired the Rangers in order in his second and last inning of work. Chris Dwyer also pitched and handled Texas. He did walk a batter, but nobody got a hit and he struck Luis Hernandez out looking on a slow curve.
The Royals scored twice in the fifth after an Alcides Escobar triple and Alex Gordon homer, then again in the sixth after Derrick Robinson punched a single through the infield with the bases loaded. Then, after three straight walks (and a 5-2 forceout/tagout) in the ninth, Kouzmanoff delivered his walk off shot.
The Royals have split squad action tomorrow, with games against the Padres and Indians both kicking off at 2:05 CST. Luke Hochevar and Will Smith (respectively) will start and are scheduled for two innings in their games. Jake Odorizzi and Noel Arguelles are also scheduled to pitch tomorrow.