Naturally, rain is in the forecast Friday in Surprise, Ariz.
That’s what you might expect here in the desert after the Royals’ 11-game Cactus League winning streak came to a crashing end Thursday at Surprise Stadium.
A Seattle split squad roughed up Guillermo Moscoso for five runs in the fourth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie, and the Royals never recovered as they lost 12-2. They are now a symmetrical 11-1-1.
“It is what it is,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “It’s spring training. I hear we (were) 11-0. We would like to keep it going, but we know the important thing is the regular season, so we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The game started well enough as Cain singled and scored on David Lough’s double in the second inning against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.
The Mariners tied it in the top of the third on Casper Wells’ RBI one-out double off starter Ervin Santana. Santana limited the damage by striking out the next two batters.
Moscoso came on to start the fourth inning and Seattle took off from there.
Wells’ three-run homer over the outfield berm in the eighth inning off Michael Mariot made it 9-1. In the ninth, Anthony Ortega served up a three-run homer to Stefen Romero, who had a grand slam earlier.
The silver lining? The Mariners’ other split-squad team lost and they are now 11-3, giving the Royals some breathing room atop the standings.
In his second spring start, Santana finished his day by battling back from a 3-0 count to strike out Michael Morse looking. In three innings of work, Santana allowed three hits, one run, didn’t walk anyone and struck out four.
“Everything was good. I was working down in the zone, attacking the zone,” Santana said. “I was mixing a couple of the off-speed pitches pretty good, too.”
The double he allowed to Wells was a slider.
“Good pitch, but bad location,” Santana said.
Moscoso struggled to throw strikes in the fourth inning, and when he did find the plate, the pitches were mostly hammered. Two examples: Romero’s no-doubt grand slam and Justin Smoak’s RBI double. Moscoso threw 36 pitches, just 16 for strikes.
Left-hander Donnie Joseph struck out two and allowed no hits in his one inning of work. He has allowed just one hit in four innings covering four appearances.
With Eric Hosmer away with the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic, utilityman Elliot Johnson started at first base. He appeared to be out of position on a ball hit to second by Smoak, which resulted in an error when Santana dropped the throw from Johnny Giavotella. Johnson later made a nice leaping grab on a ball in the third inning.
Left fielder Alex Gordon went one for two and saw his spring average drop to .522. Outfielder David Lough laced a shot off first baseman Smoak’s glove for an RBI double against Hernandez. Lough went one for two and is hitting .526.
Catcher Brett Hayes, in the running for the backup catcher’s job with George Kottaras, was zero for two. Giavotella, competing with Chris Getz at second base, also was zero for two. Getz went zero for two as well.
Jeff Francoeur was the designated hitter for the second straight game as he nurses minor hip soreness. Everett Teaford, who has yet to pitch in a game this spring because of a sore shoulder, is expected to throw in Friday’s game against the Rockies.
• Ortega, 27, signed a minor-league contract with the Royals in November. He missed all of last season because of Tommy John surgery.
• Johnson had an 11-pitch battle with Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma before lining out to Kyle Seager at third base.
• Catcher Adam Moore hit a triple in the eighth inning, the Royals’ 10th three-bagger of the spring. He scored on an error.
Noel Arguelles will start for a split-squad team playing the Indians in Surprise, Ariz. Also scheduled to pitch are John Lamb, Ryan Verdugo, Justin Marks, Yordano Ventura and Sugar Ray Marimon.
In the nightcap against the Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jeremy Guthrie makes his second start of the spring. Also scheduled to pitch are Chris Dwyer, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, Teaford and J.C. Gutierrez.
Indians (RHP Corey Kluber) at Royals (ss) (LHP Noel Arguelles) at 2:05 p.m. Central time in Surprise, Ariz.
Royals (ss) (RHP Jeremy Guthrie) at Rockies (LHP De La Rosa) at 8:10 p.m. Central time in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I think we’re going to bounce back just fine.”
| Second baseman Chris Getz on the 11-game winning streak coming to an end
Countdown to Opening Day: 24 days