As we draw closer to the end of spring training and the beginning of a new season, The Royals sent Luke Hochevar out to the mound yesterday to take on Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Hochevar was only able to pitch four innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, including three Arizona runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kennedy on the other hand lasted five innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He impressively struck out nine while walking two.
Kila Ka`aihue continued his recent hot streak for the Royals hitting a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, paving the way to an early 2-0 Kansas City lead. Ka`aihue's home run was his sixth of the spring and he is now batting .431.
After scoreless innings by Kanekoa Texeira and Aaron Crow, the Diamondbacks added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh off Luis Mendoza to stretch the lead out to 6-3 at the time.
The Royals were able to put up a fight in the eighth and ninth innings off Arizona pitchers Juan Gutierrez and Rafael Rodriguez.
Mike Aviles and Lace Zawadzki hit back-to-back solo home runs to draw Kansas City within one run in the eighth. Then in the ninth Wilson Betemit doubled, scoring Jarrod Dyson and Irving Falu to give Kansas City a 7-6 lead, their first since the top of the first inning. Kansas City added two additional runs as Zawadzki tripled to bring home Betemit and Zawadzki scored on a Gregor Blanco bunt single.
Tim Collins pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the save and giving Kansas City the 9-6 win. Mendoza picked up the win while Rodriguez was charged with the loss.
Aviles, Zawadzki, and Blanco each had two hits for Kansas City as the Royals improved to 17-10-1, while the Diamondbacks fall to 11-23.
Jeff Francis will be going today for Kansas City as they face the San Francisco Giants for the third time in the past week.