Keller makes solid spring debut in Royals’ 7-5 loss to Dodgers

Brad Keller allowed one run on four hits and two walks over three innings with one strikeout.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Keller made his spring debut Friday afternoon with a solid performance that provided a glimpse of why the right-hander is the ace of the Kansas City staff.

Keller allowed one run on four hits and two walks over three innings with one strikeout. But the Los Angeles Dodgers scored six more runs after he left the game, handing the Royals a 7-5 loss Friday afternoon at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona.

The right-hander got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first when he got Will Smith to squib a grounder in front of the plate to Salvador Perez, who stepped on home and threw to first baseman Carlos Santana to end the threat.

Also making his Cactus League debut Friday was shortstop Adalberto Mondesi. After the Royals managed two hits but no runs off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the first two innings, Mondesi doubled off reliever Mike Kickham in the third to score right fielder Whit Merrifield, who had singled. Merrifield previously had a double and finished 2 for 3.

Center fielder Michael Taylor hit a two-run homer, his first of the spring, in the bottom of the fourth to put the Royals up 3-1. Taylor also had a double in two at-bats.

After left-hander Richard Lovelady pitched a scoreless fourth, right-hander Jackson Kowar gave up a grand slam to Chris Taylor in the top of the fifth, giving the defending world champions a 5-3 lead. Lefty Eric Skoglund allowed a sacrifice fly in the sixth after taking over for Kowar, who finished with a line showing five runs allowed on three hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.

Relievers Greg Holland and Tyler Zuber both pitched 1-2-3 innings that sandwiched an eighth in which Kyle Zimmer allowed a solo homer to Kody Hoese that made it 7-3 Dodgers.

The Royals got a run back on a Kyle Isbel sacrifice fly that scored Kelvin Gutierrez, who had tripled in front of him in the eighth. Nick Pratto doubled and scored on an error in the bottom of the ninth to produce the final 7-5 score.