The Royals jumped on Cincinnati Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, scoring four times in the opening inning Sunday, and cruised to a 10-3 victory at Goodyear Stadium.
Second baseman Whit Merrifield made DeSciafani work to start the game. Merrifield belted the 10th pitch he saw for a leadoff triple, and scored on a single by shortstop Erick Mejia.
"Whit's had a great spring so far, really swinging the bat well," manager Ned Yost said. "There's just been no work-in period for him. It just seems that the first day that he got here, he was in midseason form and has consistently been really, really good no matter where we put him in the field and swinging the bat really well."
Merrifield's spring average is .529 (9 for 17) with two doubles, two triples, a home run and a robust 1.588 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
After Mejia's RBI single, the next three Royals got on base. Center fielder Paulo Orlando singled, left fielder Jorge Soler reached on an error and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio doubled. After an out, third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert singled and Soler scored to make it 4-0.
Bonifacio added an RBI single in the fifth inning that gave the Royals a 5-0 lead, and raised his average to .438 (7 for 16 with four doubles and a home run).
The Royals scored three more runs in the sixth inning, one in the seventh and one in the ninth inning.
Jason Hammel worked an efficient two innings in his first outing of the spring, needing just 24 pitches to breeze through the two innings.
"The objective is throw strikes, so that one we achieved," Hammel said. "Definitely wanted to get the ball on the ground. I know it was weak contact, like pop-ups, but two-seamer (fastball) is gonna be a big thing for me this season. I need to get that back because the home run is what hurt me last year. Worked a lot on the two-seam grip this offseason and gotta execute with that for more success this year."
Hammel allowed 25 home runs last season in 180 1/3 innings. On Sunday, he struck out two, and only one ball was hit hard. Hammel didn't hold back any pitches.
"Good heaters, a couple of good change-ups, some sliders, threw it all out there to kinda gauge where it is," Hammel said. "So far, so good. Got a lot of swings early. Just happy to fill up the strike zone with some strikes."
Peralta bounces back
After a dreadful spring debut, reliever Wily Peralta looked much sharper Sunday. Peralta, who gave up six runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk in one inning last Tuesday, struck out two and allowed a single in his inning of work.
Five of the other six relievers pitched a scoreless frame. The exception was Glenn Sparkman, who served up a two-run homer as part of a three-run sixth inning.
Outfielder Billy Burns will be back in Royals camp
Burns was assigned to Class AAA Omaha on Sunday after clearing waivers. He was designated for assignment Wednesday to make room for first baseman Lucas Duda, who signed a one-year contract with the Royals. Duda has been getting into shape and is expected to start a game as soon as Tuesday.
Burns, 28, was the odd man out of a crowded center field competition in which he was featured alongside Orlando, Bubba Starling and former Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders.
Following the first off day of camp Monday, the Royals (6-2-1) will play host to the San Diego Padres at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Surprise Stadium. Fox Sports Kansas City will televise the game.