Royals right-hander Homer Bailey looked as sharp and efficient as he has all spring training, in what’s likely his final start before the regular season begins.
Bailey needed just 76 pitches to get through six innings and set the tone for a 15-3 Royals win over the San Francisco Giants split squad in front of an announced 7,191 at Surprise Stadium on Friday night.
“Me and (catcher) Martin (Maldonado) were kind of just on the same page, and I just kind of made some pitches here and there,” Bailey said. “Two walks, a hanging slider that got hit out, but for the most part I felt like we were pretty efficient, going through guys pretty quick.”
Bailey struck out seven and allowed two runs on three hits, including a two-run home run by Donovan Solano in the fifth inning.
Bailey He didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the third inning, and his fastball came in at 95 miles per hour in the fifth inning.
Bailey appeared a lock for the starting rotation with Royals general manager Dayton Moore having said earlier in the week that Bailey had shown enough to deserve the opportunity to pitch every fifth day when the season started.
“I don’t know that you ever really feel game ready,” Bailey said. “It just kind of becomes your turn. You just go out there, but I’m fairly pleased with the results.”
The Royals scored four runs on six hits in the first inning against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, including a two-run home run by Hunter Dozier. All nine players in the starting lineup batted in the inning, and Bumgarner gave up a pair of extra-base hits before recording an out.
Chris Owings, Frank Schwindel and Khalil Lee also hit home runs for the Royals, who enjoyed a 21-hit performance.
Gordon injury: Left fielder Alex Gordon left the game in the second inning due to “left calf tightness,” according to the Royals. He hit a two-run single in the first inning and scored on Dozier’s home run.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Gordon wanted to stay in the game, but Yost overruled him.
Rotation machinations: Yost said Bailey came out of the game as early as he did in part because he’d likely make another start or two before pitching in the regular season. Those starts would likely come in Arizona in extended spring training.
Since the early regular-season schedule will include extra off days, the Royals could conceivably keep Bailey on regular rest without having him on the big-league roster for the first week of the season. The Royals also won’t need a fifth starter for the first two weeks, so that could play a factor in how the Royals use the opening-day roster spots.
Up next: The Royals will travel to play the Milwaukee Brewers at Marydale Stadium on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. (CT). Royals opening day starter Brad Keller is scheduled to make his final start of the spring. Jake Diekman, Brad Boxberger, Wily Peralta and Scott Bralow are also scheduled to pitch. Fox Sports Kansas City will televise the game, and KCSP 610 AM will broadcast the game on the radio.