The Royals appeared poised to sweep a split squad day leading the Cincinnati Reds 7-1 through seven innings on Saturday. Then the Reds hung eight runs on KC relievers in the eighth.
The Kansas City Royals fell to 6-3 in the Cactus League after their 9-7 Saturday defeat in Goodyear, Arizona.
Most KC Royals fans would have pitched a fit if the team blew a six run lead in the eighth inning during the regular season. But, KC lacked a full compliment of pitchers due to playing with a split squad. Instead, Royals fans were treated to a display of veteran reclamation project Jonathan Sanchez‘s ability to get out of a jam. Sanchez spent most of his career as a starter, and is now attempting a comeback as a reliever four years after his last major league appearance.
He pretty much failed the test.
Sanchez gave up five hits and two walks while allowing five runs to cross the plate before getting pulled him in favor of Reid Redman. Cincinnati second baseman Arismendy Alcantara took advantage of the AA reliever to slam a three run blast that completed the Reds’ eight-run rally.
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Two of those runs were charged to Sanchez, who finished the game with an ugly 36.00 ERA. Ouch.
Before Sanchez’s meltdown, Kansas City jumped out to a 7-1 lead. Kansas City hitters smacked seven hits, took three walks, and added two home runs from Samir Duenez and Jorge Bonifacio. Brayan Pena, who is in camp on a minor-league deal, stroked two doubles to improve his spring slash line to a gaudy .545/.583/.818.
Maybe backup catcher Drew Butera has a bit of competition for the backup catcher role. One advantage that Pena brings is that he’s a switch hitter. But, his defense has always been little more than adequate.
On the mound, Jason Vargas started and gave up one run in two innings, but notched three stikeouts. Minor leaguer starter Jonathan Dziedzic also followed with a two inning stint with three whiffs. However, he held the Reds scoreless. Andrew Edwards, Brandon League, and Chris Withrow followed with scoreless single inning stints.
AAA flamethrowing closer Edwards continued his strong spring showing in which he has yet to give up a run. Veteran Withrow has also has a 0.00 ERA as one of a horde of veteran reclamation projects attempting to win a job in KC’s bullpen.