Royals 8, White Sox 2
Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie had no hesitation Sunday in facing the Chicago White Sox. It just didnt matter that hell face them again next week when in matters in the first series of the regular season.
Hopefully, I get them out both times, he said. Thats the goal. I faced them four times in a month and a half last year (after joining the Royals). So if they dont know what Im going to throw them by now
Guthrie allowed two runs in six innings as the Royals continued their march through the Cactus League with an 8-2 victory. They now hold a 31/2-game lead over second-place Seattle with six games remaining.
Were playing pretty well, manager Ned Yost said. It is what it is. Were playing pretty good baseball right now. Were swinging the bats.
Alex Gordon ignited a four-run fifth inning with a two-run homer against lefty reliever David Purcey. Jeff Francoeur later added a two-run double. Guthrie and the bullpen rolled from there.
Guthrie gave up six hits, struck out eight and walked none while throwing 58 of 87 pitches for strikes.
I feel the progression (this spring) has been really good, he said, both in the way I feel and the number of pitches. The last two starts, the work in-between has been really helpful.
Ive been feeling comfortable and getting into a groove.
The bullpen produced three scoreless innings, although Aaron Crow and Donnie Joseph each had to strand a pair of runners. Kelvin Herrera closed out the game with a one-two-three ninth.
Alex Gordons fifth spring homer, a two-run drive to left-center field, broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning. Jeff Francoeur had two doubles in three at-bats. Chris Getz went two for three and is now batting .396 (19 for 48).
The Royals, at 21-6-1, are just one victory shy of their spring record. They were 22-9 in 1999 while based in Baseball City, Fla.
Trayce Thompson spent last year in the minors, which probably explains why he tried to stretch a routine single to left into a double in Chicagos fifth inning.
Alex Gordon made a strong throw for an easy assist.
Outfielder Endy Chavez, released Friday by the Royals, agreed to a minor-league deal with the Mariners. He is expected to start the season at Class AAA Tacoma.
Chavez, 35, was six for 32 in 18 games for the Royals prior to his release.
The Phillies released former Royals infielder Yuniesky Betancourt.
Xavier Nady made his first appearance since suffering a torn plantar fascia in his right foot while running out an RBI single March 13 against Seattle. He served as the designated hitter and went one for four.
The pitching matchups are set for next week when the Royals and White Sox open the season against one another with a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
James Shields will face Chicago lefty Chris Sale on April 1 in the season opener. Ervin Santana will oppose Jake Peavy on April 3, before Jeremy Guthrie matches up against Gavin Floyd on April 4 in the series finale.
Fox Sports Kansas City offers the first of its two Cactus League telecasts Monday night when the Royals play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium.
The game starts at 8:05 tonight and offers an intriguing pitching matchup: Wade Davis against ex-Royals star Zack Greinke.
Plans call for Davis to make his stretch-out start six innings or 90-plus pitches. Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, J.C. Gutierrez and Dan Wheeler are also slotted to pitch.
The other FSKC telecast is Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY: SEVEN DAYS
Royals (RHP Wade Davis) vs. Dodgers (RHP Zack Greinke), at 8:05 p.m. Central time in Surprise, Ariz.
| Bob Dutton, email@example.com