Yordano Ventura pitched seven innings of no-hit ball before being lifted because of pitch count, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
The Royals’ Opening Day starter walked two and struck out four, facing only one batter over the minimum. Ventura, who threw 49 strikes in 88 pitches, retired the final 11 batters he faced after walking Seth Smith to lead off the fourth. Ventura induced Nelson Cruz to ground into a double play to end that inning.
”It was his day,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”He was good, really good, great stuff.”
Ventura said he realized he had a no-hitter going after five innings, but knew he would not be allowed to complete it.
”Everybody knows it’s spring training,” Ventura said. ”If you’re throwing a no-hitter or a perfect game, you’re out of the game when you reach your pitch count.”
Ventura said the key for him was ”throwing strikes.”
”Everything was working, every pitch,” Ventura said.
The Mariners did not get a hit until Tyler Smith’s RBI single off Jason Frasor with one out in the eighth. Frasor walked Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley before Smith laced a single to left for Seattle’s only hit.
Brian Flynn and Wade Davis completed the one-hitter.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the first off James Paxton.
The Royals scored three unearned runs in the fourth after a fielding error on second baseman Tyler Smith. With two outs, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas stroked back-to-back run-producing doubles.
After Paxton walked the next two batters to load the bases, he was replaced by Matt Anderson.
Anderson walked Escobar to bring home Moustakas.
”I wasn’t following through and I was spinning towards third base,” Paxton said. ”I wasn’t really using my legs. It’s something I’ll have to go to the bullpen and fix.”
Mariners: Paxton said it was bad location on the pitch Hosmer hit out. ”I was trying to go low and away and I left it low and in,” Paxton said. ”He’s a left-handed power hitter, a low and in fastball that’s what he hits out of the ball park.”
Royals: Ventura had yielded 15 hits and eight runs in seven innings in his first three starts.
ROLLINS’ SUSPENSION RAMIFICATIONS
LHP Dave Rollins was having an outstanding spring — 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA in seven appearances — and the Rule 5 pick appeared on the verge to earning a spot in the Mariners’ bullpen before receiving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
”He’ll come off the 40-man roster,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. ”What we will do is wait for guidance from MLB on how this will all be handled. But he’s our property during the 80-game suspension. He will be allowed to stay here in Arizona. He will be under our supervision, and he can pitch and continue to work with the extended team.”
With Rollins suspended, if the Mariners opt to keep another lefty reliever beyond Charlie Furbush, the candidates are Tyler Olson and Joe Saunders.
McCLENDON TAKES FIFTH ON FIFTH
Manager Lloyd McClendon said he is not ready to announce the Mariners’ No. 5 starter, but it appears RHP Taijuan Walker is winning the battle over LHP Roenis Elias. Walker is scheduled to start Monday against the Angels, while Elias is not slated to start the next six games. McClendon said Elias might pitch in a minor league game. Walker has not allowed a run in five games and just six hits in 18 innings, while striking out 19.
Mariners: SS Brad Miller was sent home with flu-like symptoms.
Royals: RF Alex Rios is sidelined with a right thumb injury, which he irritated in his final at-bat Wednesday.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will start Saturday against the Giants
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will start Saturday against the Diamondbacks.