Homers by Hosmer and Eibner lead Royals over Astros 11-1
HOUSTON (AP) Eric Hosmer and Brett Eibner hit homers on back-to-back pitches in the eighth inning to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros 11-1 on Friday night.
The Royals were up by two before Hosmer's fourth home run of the spring landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 4-0. Eibner, a pinch hitter, sent the next pitch from Pat Neshek onto the concourse in left-center for his sixth homer this spring.
Neshek, signed in the offseason to beef up Houston's bullpen, had allowed just one run and four hits in his previous seven outings this spring. This time, he gave up three runs and three hits with a walk in one inning.
Evan Gattis, acquired in a trade with the Braves this offseason, upped his spring average to .417 with his second home run, a solo shot for Houston in the ninth inning.
Mike Moustakas had three hits, including an RBI double in Kansas City's six-run ninth.
''I think the one thing offensively that stands out is Moose's game,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''He took an opportunity to lead off an inning with a bunt base hit and then had a double down the left-field line. Three base hits all the opposite way - pretty impressive.''
Lorenzo Cain continued his strong spring for the Royals with three hits and two RBIs to leave his average at .377 with one exhibition game remaining.
Chris Young, Jason Frasor and Kelvin Herrera each threw a scoreless inning for the Royals after starter Edinson Volquez left after four innings.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch wasn't happy with his team's performance, but looked at the bright side of it.
''We botched a few plays,'' he said. ''I guess we can attribute that to an ugly spring training game. You have to remember that this is still spring training, so we can flush it down the toilet.''
The Royals will receive their American League championship rings Monday on opening day in Kansas City after reaching the World Series in their first trip to the postseason since 1985. The on-field ceremony will also include a video of last year's playoff run before the Royals raise their AL pennant banner.
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER
Friday was the first game on new grass the Astros installed at Minute Maid Park in March. The new grass was bought in Georgia and moved to a farm in Alabama for care in July. The sod was grown to the Astros' specifications and delivered and installed by the same team that grew and installed the grass used for this year's Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Royals: Volquez allowed five hits and struck out seven in four scoreless innings, his best outing of the spring. Volquez, who signed a two-year deal with the Royals in December after pitching for the Pirates in 2014, had allowed two or more runs in four of his five starts.
''He executed all of his pitches,'' Yost said. ''He was consistently down in the zone all night. I thought he was great.''
Volquez was encouraged by his performance.
''All my pitches were there,'' he said. ''I've been making adjustments from my last starts and it carried over here.''
Astros: Scott Feldman yielded seven hits and two runs with four strikeouts in six innings, his longest outing of the spring. He hadn't pitched more than 4 1-3 innings in his previous four starts.
''I felt like as the spring wore on, I was getting frustrated because I felt like something was a little out of whack,'' Feldman said. ''But I've been working on it between starts, working those things out with (pitching coach Brent Strom) and just trying to go out there and take it out to the game. (Friday) I felt like I'm right where I need to be and hope I feel like that during the season.''
Feldman will start Houston's second game against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
RHP Jandel Gustave, a Rule 5 draft selection, was returned to the Astros. He was drafted by Boston before being acquired by Kansas City and later claimed off waivers by San Diego. He will report to Double-A Corpus Christi.
These teams wrap up their exhibition schedules Saturday when Kansas City's Jason Vargas opposes Houston's Collin McHugh.