Royals 13, Angels 9
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Eric Hosmers three-run homer highlighted a seven-run third inning Friday afternoon that enabled the Royals to erase a six-run deficit in a 13-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The comeback came after the Angels battered James Shields for seven runs in the first two innings. Shields gave up nine runs overall in five innings just a few hours after learning, officially, that he would start on opening day.
To start the game off, he said, my body felt great, but my direction to the plate was terrible. My rhythm wasnt there the first couple of innings. I was a little erratic.
After the second inning, I felt I settled down a little bit and honed in my mechanics.
The Royals rally came against lefty C.J. Wilson, who gave up eight runs in 22/3 innings. Hosmers homer tied the game before Jeff Francoeur hit a towering blast over the batting eye beyond the center-field wall.
Yeah, Francoeur joked. Got jammed.
The victory boosted the Royals to 19-6-1 with eight games remaining. They began the day with a 11/2-game lead over second-place Seattle in the Cactus League standings. The Mariners played a night game against San Diego.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Mike Moustakas two-out RBI double. Shields gave it right back and more. Mike Trouts leadoff double ignited a two-run counter-punch.
Shields threw a run-scoring wild pitch with two outs before surrendering an RBI double to Mark Trumbo.
The Angels cuffed Shields for five more runs in the second inning after shortstop Alcides Escobar whiffed on Chris Iannettas short-hop grounder. Trout powered a two-run double, and Josh Hamilton added a two-run triple.
Being down 7-1 didnt slow us down any, manager Ned Yost said. We just kept staying after it.
The bullpen was sharp.
Luke Hochevar replaced James Shields to start the sixth and worked a one-two-three inning. Hochevar has four scoreless innings in three appearances since shifting to the bullpen.
Kelvin Herrera followed Hochevar for his first Cactus League appearance since March 2. He worked around a one-out walk. Greg Holland walked two in the eighth but escaped without damage.
Francisley Bueno closed out the victory. He has allowed just one run over his last eight appearances.
Manager Ned Yost offered a new-look lineup that dropped first baseman Eric Hosmer to sixth in the order. It also shifted DH Billy Butler from fourth to third and put third baseman Mike Moustakas in the cleanup spot.
Were still feeling things out a little bit and looking at different things, Yost said. Were trying to finds ways to protect Billy. Were trying to split our lefties.
The lineup clicked for 13 runs and 14 hits. Butler went two for three with two RBIs. Hosmer was two for four with four RBIs. Salvy Perez was two for three with three RBIs.
Alcides Escobar scored four times after reaching on two singles and two walks.
The Royals were eight for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas tracked down Vernon Wells high pop foul down the left-field line while battling a high sky in the third inning. Left fielder Alex Gordon and shortstop Alcides Escobar also converged on the play.
Moustakas made the catch near the wall and then threw a strike to second for a double play when Alberto Callaspo tried to advance from first after tagging up.
It was a foul ball that started off in the stands, Moustakas said. The wind was blowing pretty good, so it came all the way back in. I didnt give up on it.
Gordo didnt give up on it. Esky didnt give up on it. I was just the one who came down with it. Both of them started yelling, `Two, two, two. I turned, saw where (Callaspo) was and knew all I had to do was make a good throw and he was going to be out.
Our shortstop and our left fielder dont get assists, but they helped me out.
That wasnt all. Moustakas also made diving catch on a Mike Trout liner to start the fourth inning.
The Royals released veteran outfielder Endy Chavez from his minor-league contract prior to departing Surprise for Tempe. He had just six hits in 32 at-bats in 18 games.
Chavez, 35, is an 11-year veteran who signed with the Royals on Dec. 26 after batting .203 last season in 64 games at Baltimore.
The move leaves 38 active players in big-league camp.
Manager Ned Yost said he plans to roll five starting pitchers through April with one exception: a two-game trip to Atlanta (April 16-17), which is bracketed by open dates.
That puts (James) Shields and everyone else on seven days, Yost said, and I dont want to do that. I can live with six days but not seven.
(Jeremy) Guthrie and (Wade) Davis will have to throw on seven, but thats just the way it works out.
The Royals open their final week of spring training Saturday when Ervin Santana starts against Arizona at Surprise Stadium. Tim Collins, J.C. Gutierrez, Dan Wheeler and Louis Coleman are also slotted to pitch.
Royals (RHP Ervin Santana) vs. Diamondbacks (RHP Randall Delgado), at 3:05 p.m. Central time in Surprise, Ariz.
That was great to do what we did. We got behind like that against a guy like C.J. Wilson. It is spring training but, confidence-wise, to come back the way we did and hit balls hard...this is the type of stuff, when youre doing it a week away (from camp ending), that shows were ready to go.
| Right fielder Jeff Francoeur on the Royals overcoming a six-run deficit.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY: NINE DAYS