Hosmer, Morales, Rios power Royals to 13-2 win over Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Eric Hosmer and Royals newcomers Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios hit consecutive first-inning homers, and AL champion Kansas City routed the Texas Rangers 13-2 on Wednesday in the spring training opener for both teams.
Hosmer hit a three-run shot off Rangers starter Colby Lewis that landed on the grassy berm well beyond the centerfield fence. Morales went deep to right field and Rios went to left, giving Kansas City a 6-0 lead before Lewis had even recorded an out.
The last time Kansas City hit three consecutive homers during the regular season was May 2006, when Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz did it against Detroit.
''It's something you don't get to see every day, even during the regular season,'' said Rios, who spent the past couple seasons with Texas. ''It just happened.''
Lewis recorded three straight outs after the Royals' early home run binge, but the veteran starter still needed 36 pitches to get through his only inning of work.
''I actually felt great, threw a lot of strikes,'' said Lewis, a notoriously poor starter in spring training. ''Of course, the results aren't what you want, but it is what it is.''
Fellow starter Yovani Gallardo fared no better in his Texas debut, allowing four runs on six hits over 1 2-3 innings while getting little help from some shoddy defense.
''It's my first time out,'' Gallardo said. ''I feel like I kept the ball down, got a lot of ground balls today. That's what you want to see.''
Morales and Rios had back-to-back doubles of Gallardo during a three-run third inning, leaving the Royals with a strong first impression. The pair signed as free agents with Morales taking over their designated hitter spot and Rios now handling right field.
''You know, that's a deep lineup up and down,'' Hosmer said. ''You throw in Kendrys there that can flip a pitcher up every way being a switch-hitter, it makes for a dangerous offense.''
A much different offense from last season, too. Nobody even reached 20 homers for the Royals during their World Series run, and they finished with a league-low 95 as a team.
''It was pretty impressive,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''The first live pitching they saw was in an intrasquad game (Sunday), and that was for one or two at-bats. They came in looking like they've seen live pitching for a while. It was impressive to see at-bats most of the day.''
Royals: Nobody in the Royals' starting rotation is scheduled to pitch the first couple spring games. RHP Aaron Brooks was first up Wednesday, allowing a run on two hits in two innings.
Rangers: Lewis said he's feeling much better than last spring, when he was still sore from an innovative hip resurfacing surgery. ''First time out, you want to go out there and throw strikes,'' he said. ''Arm feels good, everything feels good.''
Royals: LHP Tim Collins left after feeling tightness in his elbow. Yost said that he would have an MRI exam soon. ''Timmy threw a curveball and that's when he first started feeling it,'' Yost said. ''Then he threw seven or pitches after and it kept getting tighter.''
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus is dealing with tendinitis in his left knee and LF Mitch Moreland is still recovering from ankle surgery. Neither will play a game until at least next week.
Royals: LHP Brian Flynn tries to make his case for a spot in the Royals' bullpen when he starts Thursday. RHP Ryan Madson also is scheduled to pitch as he continues his comeback.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish makes his spring debut after last season ended prematurely due to elbow inflammation. Darvish did pitch a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game Sunday.
SIGN `EM UP
The Rangers renewed the contract of RHP Shawn Tolleson and agreed to terms with C Robinson Chirinos and pitchers Luke Jackson, Phil Klein, Nick Martinez, Roman Mendez and Tanner Scheppers.
LET `EM GO
Texas returned LHP Edgar Olmos to Seattle after claiming him off waivers earlier this spring. Olmos had been unable to pitch because of a shoulder impingement.