Royals walk it off to beat Cleveland in spring finale, win Cactus League title

Hunter Dozier (pictured in a game earlier this spring) started the scoring for the Royals with a two-run homer in the second inning.
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The Kansas City Royals finished their Cactus League season with a flair, coming back from a 4-3, eighth-inning deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 in walk-off fashion Monday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.

Ryan O’Hearn hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to tie it. After Greg Holland pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, including two strikeouts, to keep the game even, Gabriel Cancel hit a two-out double to score Bubba Starling, who had singled to start the bottom of the inning, with the winning run.

The Royals improved their spring record to 16-8-4, making them Cactus League champions, a game ahead of the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s.

Brady Singer certainly looked ready for the season Monday. He made his fourth and final start of spring and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out five batters. The 24-year-old right-hander finished spring with a 2-0 record, 2.65 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Singer left the game with a 3-0 lead thanks to Hunter Dozier‘s two-run home run in the second inning and Carlos Santana‘s solo homer in the third. Dozier’s blast scored Salvador Perez, who had led off with a double.

The Cleveland offense, however, went to work as soon as Singer left the game. Wade Davis gave up a run in the sixth, Jesse Hahn allowed another in the seventh and Scott Barlow gave up a two-run homer to Jose Fermin in the eighth as Cleveland took a 4-3 lead, setting up the late comeback.

Among the Kansas City starters, Dozier, Perez, Santana and Jorge Soler (double) got one hit apiece before being pulled. The other starters — Whit Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi, Adalberto Mondesi, Kyle Isbel and Michael A. Taylor — combined to go 0 for 8.

The Royals will open the regular season at 3 p.m. Thursday against the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium.