Royals 5, Padres 4
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Nate Adcock got just what he needed when he needed it most Thursday afternoon in wiggling out of a ninth-inning jam in closing out the Royals 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres in Peoria, Ariz.
Adcock used his heavy sinker to induce a game-ending double play with the bases loaded after two walks and a hit batter. Alexi Amarista hit a soft grounder to second baseman Chris Getz, who tagged Jeudy Valdez before throwing to first for the out.
The victory enabled the Royals to remain unbeaten at 6-0-1 with six straight victories after a Cactus League-opening tie. They are the only unbeaten team in Arizona or Florida.
Adcocks escape came after James Shields opened the game with a dominating inning in his spring debut. The Royals built a 5-1 lead before the Padres stormed back with three runs in the seventh against Ryan Verdugo.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the third on Johnny Giavotellas two-out RBI single after Irving Falu opened the inning with a double. San Diego pulled even later in the inning after Gregorio Petits one-out drive to left-center fell for a triple.
Falus one-out walk ignited a two-run fifth. George Kottaras followed with an RBI double and moved to third on Alex Gordons infield single. Giavotella collected his second RBI on a grounder to second.
The Royals pushed their lead to 5-1 with a two-run seventh after Luis Durango led off with a triple against Huston Street. Getzs routine pop fell for an RBI single before singles by Xavier Nady and Manny Piña produced another run.
Amaristas two-run double with two outs against Verdugo capped a three-run burst, but Blaine Boyer closed the inning without further damage.
Will Smith followed James Shields to the mound and delivered three dominant innings that included five strikeouts. He gave up two hits, one on a high-sky triple that led to the only run he permitted.
If you could look any better (than Shields), Will Smith did, manager Ned Yost said. We had him slated for two, and he got through the first two so easily, I said, `Man, weve got to give him another one.
He had all three pitches working. Great downhill action on his fastball. A good change-up and a really good curve. He threw three pitches for strikes.
Smiths outing followed a pair of one-two-three innings in his previous start.
J.C. Gutierrez took another step toward securing a bullpen job by working his second perfect inning. He induced three ground-ball outs in the fifth.
The Royals 11 hits were by 11 different players.
Miguel Tejada started at third base and will likely to do again before he departs Sunday to join the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Wed like to move him around a little more, Yost said. But until he gets back, we wont. Hes going to play third in the WBC. So were trying to get him as many repetitions at third as we can.
A little more work might be needed. Tejada threw Kyle Blanks grounder into the seats behind first base for an error in the second inning.
Utilityman Elliot Johnson is likely to miss another day or two while he recovers from a bruised left knee. With Alcides Escobar getting the day off, Irving Falu drew the start at shortstop.
The Royals and Padres played the game under American League rules, meaning designated hitters, and did so at the Padres request. Yost said he had planned to have his pitchers bat.
Its Ervin Santanas turn to make his spring debut Friday when the Royals return to Surprise to play Cincinnati. Hes scheduled for two innings. Plans also call for closer Greg Holland and reliever Aaron Crow to pitch for the first time.
Royals (RHP Ervin Santana) vs. Reds (RHP Mat Latos), at 2:05 p.m. Central time in Surprise, Ariz.
Everybodys healthy. Thats why it cant be going any better. Were swinging the bats really well. I love our approach. I love the way our pitchers are attacking the strike zone, and weve played very well defensively. You combine all of those things, and its going quite nicely for us so far.
_ manager Ned Yost when asked, with his club at 6-0-1, if things could be going any better.
| Bob Dutton,
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY: 31 DAYS