The Royals saw their three-game winning streak in the Cactus League snapped thanks to a rocky performance from lefty reliever Tim Collins in a 9-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Handed a two-run lead in the sixth, Collins surrendered four runs on four hits. Three runs were unearned, thanks to a throwing error by shortstop Christian Colon that kept the rally alive. With two out, Collins gave up an RBI double to outfielder Jordan Danks on a “lazy curveball,” manager Ned Yost said.
Yost could not blame Collins. The spring is the time to develop the feel of a pitch, and Collins doesn’t have it yet. The White Sox added two more in the seventh.
The start was not pretty, either. After allowing a pair of singles, Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie served up a three-run shot in the first inning to White Sox first baseman Alex Wilkins. Guthrie hung a changeup, and Wilkins crushed it over the bullpen in right field.
“It stayed up, and he knocked it out of the ballpark,” Guthrie said. “I think, really, one pitch wasn’t executed in the inning, and it cost you three runs. And that’s what happens in baseball.”
The Royals clawed back quickly. A walk by Danny Valencia started a two-out rally in the second off Jose Quintana. Johnny Giavotella plated Valencia with a triple, and scored on a single by Jarrod Dyson. Dyson tied the game in the fourth when he singled home Valencia.
Jorge Bonifacio, the promising outfield prospect, also had a strong day. He roped an RBI single in the sixth and added a two-run homer in the eighth.Arms race
A return to the bullpen may be his most likely destination, but Luke Hochevar remains committed to cracking the Royals’ starting rotation. His opening performance was encouraging. He struck out two and gave up a lone hit in two scoreless innings.
Hochevar was disappointed with how he pitched during an intra-squad game last week, when he allowed a few runs on a series of hits. The outing Monday encouraged him.
“I felt like it was a lot better,” he said. “I felt like my tempo was better. Overall, my execution was a lot better.”Medical updates
Reliever Louis Coleman (bruised finger) was scheduled to throw live batting practice on Tuesday, his final checkpoint before entering game action.
Yost planned to play second baseman Omar Infante (shoulder inflammation) on Tuesday, as well.Etc.
The Royals clocked John Lamb’s fastball in the low 90s during his outing on Sunday. Consider Yost impressed by the progress of Lamb, who struggled last season as he returned from Tommy John surgery. "He’s back now," Yost said.
Alcides Escobar’s wife gave birth to a baby boy late Friday night. Yost expected Escobar to return to camp on Tuesday morning.
Mike Moustakas appears the leading candidate to be the team’s emergency catcher.Up next
Danny Duffy gets his first start of the spring. He’ll face the Reds at Surprise Stadium. Bruce Chen will back him up.Quote
“This is the time to get the feel for that pitch. Because when he has the feel for it, it’s a devastating curveball.” — Ned Yost, on Tim Collins’ misplaced breaking pitch in the sixth inning.