Edinson Volquez had his worst outing of the spring Sunday but wasn’t to blame as the Royals lost 9-4 to a Cleveland Indians split-squad.
Volquez, who entered the start having allowed just one run in 4 2/3 innings, ran into trouble in three of his four innings, but was happy with how he felt.
“My curve was good, my change-up was better than my curve,” Volquez said. “My fastball was good. My fastball command was really good today. I walked two guys, but I just want to keep throwing the ball the way I’ve been throwing right now.”
Volquez allowed two hits, a walk and a run in the first inning. The Royals got the run back in the bottom half on a no-doubt homer from Alex Gordon.
In the second, Volquez gave up a pair of two-out singles before striking out Tyler Naquin.
After retiring the Indians in order on seven pitches in the third inning, Volquez was nicked for a pair of runs in the fourth. Robbie Grossman walked and Giovanny Urshela lined a home run over the left-center field fence, tying the game at 3-3.
Volquez bounced back, getting the next three Indians in order, including two by strikeouts.
In four innings, Volquez allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six in 69 pitches.
“Like I said, I feel good, I threw the ball pretty good and I’m starting to get ready for the start of the season,” said Volquez, who added he didn’t know what his pitch count was for the game.
Cleveland broke a tie in the seventh inning against lefty reliever Brian Flynn. With two outs, Carlos Santana doubled on a ball that Reymond Fuentes appeared to misplay. Jesus Aquilar then hit an RBI double that broke a 3-3 tie.
Robbie Grossman followed with a slow roller to shortstop Orlando Calixte. Grossman beat the throw, which was wild and allowed Aquilar to score. Urshela singled and Roberto Perez deposited a 92 mph fastball from Flynn over the right-center field fence, making it an 8-3 game.
“(Flynn) could have been out of the inning,” manager Ned Yost said, “and then it just kind of avalanched on him from that point. But OK to that point.”
The Royals, who dropped to 5-9, got a run back in the seventh on Calixte’s sacrifice fly after Whit Merrifield tripled.
Cleveland scored one in the ninth against Miguel Almonte, who allowed three hits and a walk.
Gordon crushed the first pitch he saw from Mike Clevinger, hitting a long homer down the right-field line. Salvador Perez had two hits and showed a bit of fancy footwork. After a third-inning single, he was caught too far off first base when Paulo Orlando missed a bunt attempt. The Indians catcher’s throw to first easily beat Perez, but he managed to avoid the tag of first baseman Carlos Santana, who got turned around by the throw.
Luke Hochevar worked around a one-out triple in the sixth inning, striking out Eric Stamets and getting a ground-out. It was Hochevar’s third scoreless frame of the spring. Brian Duensing ran his scoreless streak to four innings as he tossed a blank in the fifth despite allowing two hits.
Second baseman Omar Infante lined a double to left field in the second inning for his first hit of the spring. He added an infield single in the fourth and has a .182 average. Travis Snider, who is in the mix for an outfield spot, singled and scored in the second inning. In the third, he struck out, but battled and fouled off a couple of good pitches when the count was 2-2.
The Royals face the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium at 3:05 p.m. Central time Monday. Yordano Ventura is scheduled to start for the Royals.