The Royals scored in each of the first five innings, including four multi-run frames, and routed the White Sox 12-0 on Thursday at The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch.
Second baseman Whit Merrifield ended his, ahem, one-game hitless streak as he had a double, a triple, stole home on a botched play and added two RBIs.
Merrifield, who has hit in seven of eight games, is batting .500 with three doubles, three triples and five RBIs in Cactus League play. He has a 1.045 slugging percentage and four mulit-hit games.
"There's not much slowing him down, that's for sure," manager Ned Yost said.
On Thursday, Merrifield hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a ground-out. Jorge Soler drew a walk and stole second when the White Sox neglected to cover the base. That allowed Merrifield to trot home with the game's first run.
An inning later, Merrifield tripled home a pair of runs to make it 3-0. Soler (solo shot) and third baseman Cody Asche (three-run blast) hit home runs in the third inning. Designated hitter Samir Duenez crushed a two-run homer in the fourth inning as the Royals took a 9-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Erick Meija had an RBI double and Michael Saunders added a two-run single to make it 12-0.
"The offensive side was really good," Yost said.
Left-hander Danny Duffy tossed three scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He scuffled a bit in the second inning, allowing a hit and yelling in frustration after issuing a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
"I wasn't pleased with that," Duffy said. "I wanted to throw a slider for a strike there, just to see if it would work, I guess. Everybody preaches your fastball would be good enough to get anybody out, but I wanted to make sure I was consistent with my slider, and for the most part I was. Didn't get a whole lot of swing-and-misses on it, but I was pleased with the action."
Duffy rebounded with a sharp third inning, needing just 11 pitches to set the White Sox down in order. He threw 48 pitches overall, 30 for strikes, and plans to ramp up to 65 in his next outing.
After two starts this spring, Duffy said he's right where he wants to be.
"Today, I didn't hit the gas 100 percent with my fastball outside of when I tried to climb the ladder a little bit. ... Just trying to stay within myself," Duffy said. "It's a long season, so I was just trying to kind of hit my spots, hit my location with every pitch and when the time comes, and it's down to the nitty-gritty, I'll be ready to go."
Soler power ... and patience
Soler's home run was his fourth of the spring, which leads the Royals. He also has a team-high five walks.
"He's been that guy," Yost said. "It's been a big part of his game is the on-base percentage, and that's an important part of the game."
Orlando's hot, too
Center fielder Paulo Orlando had two hits and was hit by a pitch. Orlando's average this spring is up to .474.
Yost has been just as impressed with Orlando as he is with Merrifield.
"It's been amazing the way that they've swung the bat all through spring training," Yost said. "They got here hot and they're continuing to stay hot."
Miguel Almonte (two innings, one hit), Blaine Boyer (one inning, one hit), Trevor Oaks (one hitless inning), Richard Lovelady (two strikeouts in a hitless inning) and Sam Gaviglio (one inning, one hit) were all stellar out of the bullpen.
"First chance to see Lovelady, pretty impressive," Yost said. "I liked what he did. Almonte had two clean innings, Oaks with a good inning. Pitching was really good."
The Royals will play two on Friday. A split-squad team will face the Diamondbacks at 2:05 p.m. in Surprise, and Ian Kennedy will get the start. Scott Barlow will start for the other team of Royals, which will face the Dodgers at the same time at Camelback Ranch.