Royals 3, Reds 2

Ervin Santana’s first appearance with the Kansas City Royals

couldn’t have gone much better.

That could have been deduced from the smile on his face.

After arriving from the Los Angeles Angels in a November trade,

Santana finally got on the mound Friday with his new team. He wound

up pitching two scoreless innings, wiggling out of a jam in the

second, as the Royals beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 to remain

unbeaten this spring.

”Every time you go 1-2-3 in the first inning and then in the

second inning you work a little bit, it’s good,” Santana said.

”Everything was very good.”

Brett Hayes, trying to win a job as a backup catcher, broke a

2-all tie when he homered in the eighth inning off the Reds’ Jeff

Stevens. Salvador Perez drove in a run and threw out two on base,

and light-hitting Chris Getz also went deep in the fifth inning for

Kansas City.

The Royals improved to 7-0-1 in their first eight spring


Mat Latos went two scoreless innings for Cincinnati in his first

spring start. Backup catcher Devin Mesoraco and reserve outfielder

Kristopher Negron hit solo homers.

”Latos threw well,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ”In his

first time out he was over-throwing early. But he did a good job.

Everybody did a good job, really.”

Santana has said that he feels like a rookie again with the

Royals after spending his entire career with the Angels. In fact,

the right-hander’s been a fixture in their rotation since 2005,

going 96-80 with a 4.33 ERA while starting at least 28 games in

eight consecutive seasons.

He was only 9-13 last season, though, when he dealt with a

series of nagging injuries.

That wasn’t enough to scare off the Royals, who were desperate

to upgrade their pitching. And now Santana is being counted upon

along with James Shields and Wade Davis, who were acquired in a

blockbuster trade from Tampa Bay, and Jeremy Guthrie, who was

re-signed this offseason, to make up a rotation that looks nothing

like what manager Ned Yost trotted out most of last season.

”It’s a different experience,” said Santana, who threw 31

pitches in his Royals debut. ”I like it here. Everybody is cool,

and we’re like a family. They have all the talent and they can do

good things, especially this year. Everybody is excited.”

Mesoraco, who hit just .212 over 54 games for the Reds last

season, showed what made him a former first-round pick in the fifth

inning. He hit a 3-0 pitch from closer Greg Holland over the

left-field wall to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead.

The Royals got an answer from the most unlikely of places.

Getz, who’s competing with Johnny Giavotella for the starting

job at second base, only has two career homers – both of them in

2009 – in 371 big league games. But he said he’s made a couple of

minor tweaks to his stance recently, and the result has been a

little more pop.

Enough that he could muscle a pitch from right-hander Sam LeCure

over the wall in right.

”I was just fooling around with some stuff, and I don’t know.

Tried something new today and connected,” Getz said. ”Was able to

get a quick result, I guess. A positive result.”

Kristopher Negron gave the Reds the lead back with a first-pitch

homer off Aaron Crow, Perez answered in the bottom half of the

sixth with an RBI single, and that allowed Hayes to become the


He turned on a 0-1 pitch from Stevens and sent it soaring onto

the berm beyond the left-field wall, allowing the Royals to remain

the only team without a loss in spring training.

”Blind squirrel finds a nut, right?” said Hayes, who is known

more for his defense than his offense. ”I’ve worked really hard

the last six months or so. We all have. It’s nice to see it paying

off a little bit.”

NOTES: Reds CF Shin-Soo Choo (right quadriceps) and C Ryan

Hanigan (left oblique) were scratched from the lineup with what

Baker called typical spring training soreness. … OF Billy

Hamilton, who last year broke the minor league record with 155

steals, swiped his first two bases of spring in the eighth. …

Guthrie makes his first appearance of spring Saturday against San

Francisco. … Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo is expected to start

Saturday against the White Sox.