Hosmer, Moustakas power Royals past Giants
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas fizzled more than they sizzled in their sophomore seasons with the Kansas City Royals.
Both first-round draft picks, however, have rediscovered their batting strokes in spring training.
Hosmer went 3 for 3 with a home run and two doubles, Moustakas hit a two-run shot and Kansas City beat a San Francisco Giants split squad 9-5 on Saturday.
The third overall pick in the 2008 draft, Hosmer hit .232 last year after batting .293 with 19 homers and 78 RBIs as a rookie.
“I’m laying off pitches I was swinging at last year,” Hosmer said. “For me, the biggest part is that the discipline is there and I’m seeing the ball well. For spring training, that’s all you can ask for.”
All three of Hosmer’s hits went to the opposite field.
“It’s pretty fantastic right now,” Moustakas said about Hosmer’s swing. “When you get hot and get three hits, all the left side of the diamond, one going out, that’s a good sign for the Kansas City Royals.”
Moustakas, the second player selected in the 2007 draft, did not fare much better than Hosmer last season, hitting .211 after the All-Star break to finish at .242.
“It’s still early in spring,” he said. “I’m still trying to find things here and there. I’m tweaking with it. We’re playing good as a team and everything is kind of rolling pretty good.”
Moustakas is batting .563 and Hosmer .471 in spring training, but each had only one extra-base hit before Saturday.
The Royals remained the only unbeaten team in spring training with an 8-0-1 record.
“This isn’t the place to be undefeated,” Hosmer said.
Still, manager Ned Yost is pleased with Hosmer’s stroke.
“He’s swinging the bat really, really well,” Yost said. “He’s on balls, he’s really balanced, his swing is shortened up to where he can drive balls. He drove that last ball well over the left-field fence.”
Jeremy Guthrie, who re-signed with the Royals in the offseason for $25 million over three years, made his first Cactus League start. He gave up two runs and four hits in two innings while throwing 31 strikes in 36 pitches.
“Out in the bullpens I’ve thrown, I haven’t had great command and so today I wanted to make sure I could move the fastball around,” Guthrie said. “For the most part, I was able to go back and forth. I was up in the zone. In the first inning, those guys put some good swings on some balls that were just thigh-high, real hittable pitches for them.
“If I could have kept the ball down, they all would have been ground balls to somebody instead of base hits to the outfield. That’s a small adjustment hopefully, just to keep it down.”
San Francisco fielded a team of mostly minor leaguers and non-roster invitees.
Brandon Belt, the only Giants player in the lineup who started for the 2012 World Series champions, went 4 for 5 with a home run to raise his batting average to .526.
Gary Brown hit a two-run homer in the seventh and Bret Bochy, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, pitched a scoreless inning.
NOTES: Royals RHP Luis Mendoza, who leaves Sunday to join Mexico for the World Baseball Classic, pitched two scoreless innings. … Royals LHP Tim Collins made his final appearance before reporting to Team USA and struck out all three batters he faced in the fifth inning. … The Royals lead the majors with a .338 batting average and have at least 10 hits in six of the past seven games.