The Kansas City Royals had another day of split-squad games in Arizona today as one team battled the Oakland Athletics and the other took on the Los Angeles (I still call it Anaheim) Angels. The Royals got down at the onset giving up early runs in the first inning of each game but were able to produce just enough offense in each to improve the spring record to 9-4-1 today.
Will Smith got the start for Kansas City against the A's and was roughed up pretty good, giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, including a two-run homerun to catcher Kurt Suzuki. For the day Smith gave up four runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out three in just two innings. However, the bullpen was able to provide quality relief just giving three hits and two walks the rest of the way. Against the A's the bullpen consisted of Aaron Crow for two innings; Louis Coleman, Joakim Soria, and Jeremy Jeffress for an inning each. Luis Mendoza then finished the game on the hill for the Royals with two scoreless innings.
A's pitcher Brett Anderson cruised through the first three innings, until he allowed Wilson Betemit to score on a wild pitch with Wil Myers at the plate. The struggles continued for the Oakland defense when Myers reached first on a Kevin Kouzmanoff fielding error that scored Mitch Maier. Myers picked up his first spring RBI on the play, while Maier was 1-for-3 on the day and is still batting an impressive .600.
The Royals only mustered out four hits on the day but were able to draw the score to 4-3 in the fifth when Chris Getz scored on a Billy Butler ground out, and then tied the game in the seventh on a Kurt Mertins sacrifice, plating Royals catcher Lucas May. Getz picked up two of the four Royals hits to rise his spring average to .176.
Now moving onto the game against the Angels, the Royals this time had 10 hits but they needed every one of them in the 4-3 victory. Starting the game for the Royals was Vin Mazzaro opposite of veteran Joel Pineiro who started for the Angels. For the day Mazzaro gave up three runs on six hits before exiting with one out in the fourth inning. Like the A's, the Angels scored in the first inning when a Vernon Wells single scored Erick Aybar from second after had had stolen the base.
Kansas City countered with their first run of the game in the fourth inning when a Brett Carroll ground out scored Kila Ka`aihue. The Angels however came right back on the heels of RBI's by both Mark Trumbo and Jeff Mathis. The score remained 3-1 Angels until the seventh when Ryan Stovall scored when Carlos Ramirez had a throwing error trying to catch Irving Falu stealing second. Falu, Jarrod Dyson, and Alcides Escobar each had a stolen base for Kansas City, which has really shown so far they are going to be running a lot when they get on base this year.
Onto the seventh and the Royals finally took the lead when Mike Moustakas singled, scoring Nick Van Stratten and David Lough giving the Royals the 4-3 final margin. Moustakas, arguably the Royals top prospect, was 2-for-2 today along with the 2 RBI's in the seventh. Dyson also turned in a notable perfomance from the leadoff spot going 3-for-3 on the day.
Chris Dwyer, Nathan Adcock, and Greg Holland pitched the final three innings giving the Royals the victory. Dwyer picked up the win, while Holland earned the save. Loek Van Mill took the loss for the Angels. The Royals will now head over to Talking Stick tomorrow to battle the Colorado Rockies in the afternoon. Luke Hochevar will be pitching for the Royals, who will be playing under National League rules tomorrow. Mike Montgomery and Tim Collins are expected to pitch as well (wouldn't the 5'7" Collins be fun to see in the batter's box).