SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Royals suffered their third loss in four games Monday night and, again, it wasn’t close. The Texas Rangers roughed up Ervin Santana and cruised to a 8-2 victory at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Santana gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings while striking out just two and walking one. He threw 80 pitches; 49 for strikes.
Texas turned three singles into a first-inning run and four singles into two second-inning runs. Ian Kinsler’s no-doubt homer, a two-run shot to left, highlighted a three-run fourth inning.
The Royals, 17-5-1, suffered losses of 8-1 to the Dodgers and and 8-3 to the Cubs before Sunday’s 10-0 shellacking of the White Sox. The Royals’ lead in the Cactus League is down to 1 ½ games over Seattle, 16-7.
Veteran Derek Lowe started for the Rangers after they scratched Yu Darvish because of a stiff neck. Lowe responded with three scoreless innings.
The Rangers were one out from a shutout victory when Lisaiverto Bonilla walked Max Ramirez and surrendered a single to Chris Getz. Both runners scored on Brandon Wood’s double before Adam Moore struck out.
Lefty Tim Collins made his first appearance since returning from duty with the USA In the World Baseball Classic. He opened the fifth inning by surrendering a long double to Adrian Beltre.
That turned into a run when Mitch Moreland hit a two-out infield single.
Luke Hochevar followed Collins and pitched around two singles in the sixth. Hochevar has three scoreless innings in two appearances since shifting to the bullpen.
Donnie Joseph’s wild side finally surfaced in the seventh inning. After opening the inning with a strikeout, Jose Felix reached on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike.
Two walks loaded the bases before Joseph threw a run-scoring wild pitch. But he stranded runners at second and third by retiring the next two hitters.
Right fielder Jeff Francoeur provided one of the night’s few highlights by making a nice play on David Murphy’s one-out drive against the wall in the third inning.
Francoeur played the carom and made a strong throw to second baseman Johnny Giavotella, whose throw to first nailed Murphy before he could scramble back after a wide turn.
The Royals trimmed their camp roster before the game by sending seven pitchers to the minors. More cuts, likely involving position players, were anticipated after the game.
Will Smith, Everett Teaford and Nate Adcock were optioned to Class AAA Omaha. Yordano Ventura, Blaine Boyer, Michael Mariot and Brian Sanches were reassigned to minor-league camp.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar returned to the lineup for the first time since March 10, when he suffered muscle spasms in his lower back while running the bases in a 17-11 victory over the Angels.
He popped out on a bunt in his first at-bat.
Manager Ned Yost rolled out a lineup with a few tweaks.
Mike Moustakas and catcher Salvy Perez swapped places with Moustakas batting fifth, which put a left-handed hitter (Moustakas) between two right-handed hitters (Billy Butler and Perez).
Yost also flipped outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur with Cain batting seventh.
“We’re trying to get the left-right thing going between Moose and Sal,” Yost said. “We want to see what works best for us. We’re just playing around and getting a feeling for different things.”
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie gets another look at his former team, Colorado, after getting roughed up a bit March 8 by the Rockies in Scottsdale.
Guthrie permitted three runs in three innings, but the game got rained out before it was official. Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, Francisley Bueno and Dan Wheeler are also scheduled to pitch.
Royals (RHP Jeremy Guthrie) vs. Rockies (RHP Juan Nicasio), at 3:05 p.m. Central time in Surprise, Ariz.
“I know spring training is spring training, but the way we’re playing...obviously, we’ve never done this in spring training before. I think that speaks for something.” — DH Billy Butler on the Royals’ 17-5-1.
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