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Defense Saves The Day; Royals Down Padres 4-3

For a young team trying to learn to win at the major league level, there is much optimism to take away from the Kansas City Royals 4-3 defeat of the San Diego Padres today in Surprise, Arizona. The key plays on the afternoon were all made by players who have yet to reach the big league level.

Offensively Clint Robinson was consistant at the plate all day (2 for 4 and 2 RBI), while Lorenzo Cain came through in the clutch twice. Cain had a key double with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and then came around to score on a single by Mike Moustakas to break a three-all tie. Cain then came up with a great diving catch in the top of the ninth inning robbing Jesus Guzman of a game-tying RBI, and then Cain was able to toss the ball to shortstop Jeff Bianchi to double off Luis Durango for the game ending 8-6 double play.

Royals starter Luke Hochevar went two innings and gave up one run on four hits, with a strikeout. The Padres were then able to get out to a early 2-0 lead in the top of the third when Brad Hawpe singled and drove in a run off Aaron Crow. Crow also went two innings for the Royals, giving up one run on three hits, had one walk and a pair of strikeouts.

The Royals scored their first run in the bottom of the third when Mike Aviles lead off the inning with a single, stole second base, and was able to come around and score on Clint Robinson's triple off Padres pitcher George Kontos.

Moving ahead to the bottom of the fifth, Aviles again singled and this time came around to score on a Robinson double. After an Alex Gordon walk (one of three for Gordon on the day), Mitch Maier doubled, allowing Robinson to score to put Kansas City ahead for the first time at 3-2.

Kyle Phillips singled in the sixth off Royals pitcher Jeremy Jeffress to knot the game at three before Robinson and Cain provided the late game heroics. Pitching today for the Royals were Hochevar, Crow, Michael Montgomery, Jeffress, Kanekoa TexeiraJesse Chavez, and Gabby Hernandez.

With the win, Kansas City moves to 2-1 thus far in spring training, while San Diego falls to 0-2-1. Jesse Chavez picked up the win, and Hernandez the save, meanwhile Jeremy Hefner took the loss for the Padres. San Diego will take on the Colorado Rockies tomorrow, while Kansas City will make their first trip away from Suprise Stadium, visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale.

Again your final in Surprise this afternoon was Kansas City 4 San Diego 3. Full boxscore can be viewed here.