SURPRISE, Ariz. — Mike Moustakas contributed a single, a double and a home run to a 13-hit attack Wednesday afternoon that carried the Royals to a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The Royals jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Aaron Harang through the aid of two LA errors and a run-scoring wild pitch. Moustakas had an RBI single.
Lorenzo Cain’s leadoff homer in the fourth, after barely fouling off a 1-2 fastball, hiked the lead to 4-0. Moustakas’ homer, his fourth of the spring, came in the fifth.
“I’m just seeing the ball good right now,” said Moustakas, who raised his average to .460 (23 for 50). “It’s still spring. It still doesn’t count too much, but we’re playing good baseball.
“That’s the important thing we take from this; that we’re playing as a team and everything is meshing together.”
The Royals improved to 18-6-1 and extended their lead in the Cactus League to a full game over idle Seattle 17-7.
Wade Davis had little trouble through four innings but opened the fifth by yielding a single to Yasiel Puig before walking Nick Punto and Tim Federowicz.
Louis Coleman replaced Davis and limited the damage to one run, which the Royals got back on Moustakas’ homer later in the inning. Jeff Francoeur added a two-out RBI single for a 6-1 lead.
Both teams scored in the sixth. The Dodgers got a sacrifice fly from Puig before the Royals answered with Johnny Giavotella’s first spring homer.
Wade Davis threw 64 pitches over four-plus innings in his first start against big-league competition since March 3. He allowed one hit and two walks through four innings before weakening in the fifth.
“Not really fatigue,” Davis said. “Just lost a little bit of feel. The fatigue actually wasn’t bad at all. My release point got a little bit off, but that’s something I can correct pretty quickly.”
Battle for the final bullpen job:
J.C. Gutierrez gave up one run on two hits and one walk in the sixth. He’s the only leading bullpen candidate who is out of options and isn’t in camp on a minor-league deal -- but that’s five runs and 11 hits in nine innings.
Lefty Donnie Joseph bounced back from his only subpar spring outing by pitching a one-two-three seventh inning on 11 pitches.
Dan Wheeler worked around two singles in a scoreless ninth. He has not permitted a run in nine innings over nine outings.
Battle for the fifth spot in the rotation:
Bruce Chen is slotted to pitch Thursday in a minor-league game to stay on his regular schedule, which positions him between Wade Davis and James Shields as the fifth starter.
Plans call for Luis Mendoza, the other candidate, to pitch Friday in a minor-league game.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas is no longer sporting the mustache he grew briefly to support Mustache March efforts by the 62nd Fighter Squadron (Spikes) and the 308th Fighter Squadron (Emerald Knights) at nearby Luke Air Force Base.
It is an Air Force tradition to grow mustaches in March, but Moustakas said he just couldn’t handle it for more than a few days.
“Those guys are awesome, though,” he said. “I’ve been hanging with a few of them, wearing the T-shirts and stuff. They think what I do is cool, but they’re fighter pilots!”
Going stache-less didn’t hurt Moustakas, who had an RBI single, a double and a homer in three at-bats.
James Shields is a 20-1 pick to be the Cy Young Award winner this season in the American League in the latest odds from Bovada, an online gambling service. Ervin Santana is 50-1.
The Cy Young favorite is Shields’ former teammate at Tampa Bay, David Price, the 2012 winner, at 11-2. Next are Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Jered Weaver of the Angels at 6-1.
Rehabbing right-hander Felipe Paulino is up to 35 pitches in bullpen workouts in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
“Fastballs and changeups,” he said. “I feel great.”
Paulino underwent surgery last July 3 after going 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts. His rehab schedule tentatively targets a mid-July return to game action.
Utilityman Xavier Nady tested his injured right foot (torn plantar fascia) by jogging. If all goes well, he could be ready to play, at least on a limited basis, by Friday.
The Royals have their third and final spring open date Thursday before playing nine games over the next eight days.
That closing run includes a split-squad, day/night doubleheader next Wednesday against the Brewers in the afternoon in Maryvale and the Cubs at night in Surprise.
Royals (RHP James Shields) vs. Angels (LHP C.J. Wilson), at 3:05 p.m. Central time Friday in Tempe, Ariz.
“No. Nothing at all. Felt great.”
— Royals starter Wade Davis, on whether he felt any pain or soreness after a 17-day absence from Cactus League competition because of shoulder inflammation.
Countdown to Opening Day: 11 days