The Royals allowed six runs in the first six innings and then gave up a nine-run ninth in a 15-2 Cactus League road loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday at Scottsdale Stadium.
Kelvin Gutierrez walked with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, forcing in the Royals’ first run, and Frank Schwindel’s ninth-inning home run accounted for the team’s other run. Erick Mejia also had a triple off the bench.
Scott Ellis, who the Royals acquired in the Rule 5 draft, bounced back from allowing two runs on three extra-base hits in the first inning and pitched a scoreless second. Richard Lovelady gave up one run on three two-out hits, which came on relatively soft contact.
Kyle Zimmer tossed a scoreless inning in his second outing of the spring. Zimmer recorded one strike out and touched 94 mph according to the stadium radar gun.
Accidental addition? Zimmer said he recorded the third strike of his lone strikeout on an unintentional cutter. If he can command that pitch regularly, he’s open to adding it to his pitch arsenal.
“I will sometimes will get that natural cut,” Zimmer said. “Sometimes it will take off and look more like a slider. As long as I’m throwing it down and in the zone, I’m sort of happy with it. Any hitter will tell you, the more movement the ball has it’s a harder hit. I think I’m starting figure out though how to manipulate it more to cut less or cut a little more if I want to.”
Saturday start: Brad Keller, who went from Rule 5 pick to penciled into the starting rotation one year, is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Saturday. Keller went 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 41 games (20 starts) last year despite not having pitched above Double-A prior to that season.
Up next: The Royals will host the San Diego Padres at Surprise Stadium on Thursday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 Central, and KCSP (610 AM) will broadcast the game. Pitcher Jorge Lopez is scheduled to start for the Royals, while Jake Diekman, Sam McWilliams and Jason Adam are also slated to pitch.