The open date didn’t slow down the Royals. Nothing slows down these guys at the moment.
A four-run first inning carried the Royals to their 10th straight victory Tuesday afternoon when they beat an Oakland split squad 8-2 at Surprise Stadium.
Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer opened the first with successive singles against Bartolo Colon, and the Royals never looked back in amassing a 13-hit attack.
“It’s getting a little repetitious, but we’re doing a lot of things pretty darn well,” manager Ned Yost said.
John Jaso’s two-out RBI single put Oakland on the board in the second against Bruce Chen, but Brett Hayes started the bottom of the inning with a homer.
After Luke Hochevar protected the 5-1 lead by pitching three scoreless innings, Louis Coleman surrendered three hits and a walk in the seventh but limited the damage to one run.
Aaron Crow pitched a one-two-three eighth before the Royals put the game away with a three-run burst in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Wood hit a two-run homer, and Jarrod Dyson had an RBI triple.
Greg Holland closed out the victory.
Lefty Bruce Chen retired nine of 11 hitters in his three innings while striking out two. He threw 29 of 44 pitches for strikes.
“I am working toward where I want to be,” he said. “I want to make sure my arm is strong enough to go deep into the game.
“I want to make sure I’m using my fastball to both sides of the plate and keeping the ball down. So far it’s going well.”
Luke Hochevar stranded two runners in the fourth and two more in the fifth before striking out the side in the sixth.
“I kind of got in a groove as the game went on for me,” he said. “I started getting the ball down a lot better. I felt a lot better with my fastball execution today. I feel it’s coming along well. I’m not quite there.”
Lefty reliever Tim Collins retired just one of six batters for the United States in an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz. He yielded two runs on four hits and one walk.
Several World Baseball Classic teams are playing exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the start of the tournament.
Royals infielder Miguel Tejada went four for six with two runs and two RBIs in helping the Dominican Republic to a 15-2 victory over the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
Reliever Kelvin Herrera worked one scoreless inning for the Dominican. He yielded one hit and struck out one.
Other teams appear convinced the Royals will look to trade a starting pitcher prior to the end of spring training.
So many opposing scouts attended the game to watch Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar that — hey, Hey, HEY — the scout/media dining room ran out of food.
Mark stars on both ends of the play to retire Chris Young to open the Oakland fourth.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas made a barehanded pickup on a dying chop to the left side but bounced a laser throw to first; Eric Hosmer made a tough scoop for a bang-bang out.
No cuts from the camp roster are anticipated, manager Ned Yost said, prior to Friday’s split-squad, day/night doubleheader.
Utility infielder Elliot Johnson returned to action for the first time since suffering a bruised left knee on a play at second base in last Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee.
Johnson replaced shortstop Alcides Escobar in the sixth inning.
Lefty Everett Teaford is slotted to make his spring debut Friday night against Colorado in the second game of a split-squad doubleheader. He battled a sore shoulder earlier in camp.
Lefty Noel Arguelles’ ongoing comeback trek gets a test Friday when he starts the afternoon game against Cleveland at Surprise Stadium.
“We wanted him to start,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s as simple as that. This is his third year in camp. (Chris) Dwyer got to start a game. Another opportunity opened up. We’re going to start Arguelles.”
The opening occurred after the Royals slotted Jeremy Guthrie for the night game against Colorado, his former team, in Scottsdale.
The Royals won a bidding war in 2010 to sign Arguelles for $6.9 million over five years after he defected from Cuba. He never pitched in 2010 before undergoing shoulder surgery and has battled for two year to regain his form.
“The only issue he’s had this spring is command,” Yost said. “Velocity of his fastball is up. His changeup has been phenomenal. His breaking ball has been very good.
“It just putting it together and pitching ahead on the count. We think he’s making good strides.”
James Shields makes his second spring start Wednesday when the Royals make the 40-mile trip to the other side of the Valley to play Arizona at Salt River Fields.
Will Smith, Dan Wheeler, J.C. Gutierrez, Brian Sanches, Nate Adcock, Michael Mariot and Blaine Boyer are also slated to pitch.
Royals (RHP James Shields) vs. Diamondbacks (RHP Trevor Cahill), at 2:10 p.m. Central time in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“It would have been a nice pick if I had seen it. That was one of those where you just hope.”
— First baseman Eric Hosmer, on scooping a low throw from third baseman Mike Moustakas in the fourth inning.
Countdown to Opening Day: 26 days