Ventura shaky as Royals rally for 11-9 win over Indians
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Yordano Ventura stepped to the mound for the Kansas City Royals for the first time since Game 6 of the World Series. The results were nothing like they were last October.
Ventura was battered for four runs in his spring training debut Friday before the Kansas City Royals rallied for a sloppy, time-consuming 11-9 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians had built a 5-2 lead by the fifth when they started getting careless on defense. Kansas City capitalized by scoring eight runs in the inning, the go-ahead blow a three-run shot by outfield prospect Brett Eibner off Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw.
Alex Rios went 3 for 4 with his second homer of the spring, and Ryan Roberts also drove in three runs for the Royals. Roberto Perez finished with three RBIs for Cleveland.
The hard-throwing Ventura, who went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA last season, was downright dominant against San Francisco in the Fall Classic. After pitching his club to a win in Game 2, he returned to throw seven innings of three-hit ball and help force a deciding Game 7.
There was a little less riding on the outcome Friday as Ventura headed out of the dugout with palm trees swaying in the warm, stiff breeze. Ventura walked Indians leadoff man Jason Bourne and gave up two-run singles to Ryan Raburn and Perez before finally escaping the inning.
"Pitchers are getting their rhythm, the timing of their delivery," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was a little strong, maybe overthrew a bit his first time out, but he had good stuff."
Ventura didn't sound too worried about his performance, either.
"Feel great," he said with a smile. "Threw the ball fine."
Indians counterpart Danny Salazar, in a heated competition for their final rotation spot, allowed a pair of runs on three hits and a walk. But he also struck out four in his two innings of work, looking fit and strong after arriving in training camp on Jan. 11.
"Feels really good to be outside for the first time," Salazar said. "Spring training for a while, you just want to face some batters."
T.J. House and Josh Tomlin are Salazar's primary competition for the fifth rotation spot, although Bruce Chen and Shaun Marcum are also in the running. Marcum followed Salazar to the mound against Kansas City and gave up two hits in two scoreless innings.
"In the season, you can probably nitpick, but in spring training for a first outing, I thought the ball came out of Salazar's hand really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
So much for improving pace of play. Four errors combined with half a dozen more flubs and 27 hits resulted in a game that lasted nearly 3 1/2 hours.
Sidelined for part of last season with a triceps injury, Salazar said he has been able to participate fully in workouts this spring. "I've been practicing normal with the guys," he said, "not doing more, not doing less."
RHP Gavin Floyd will take a break due to soreness in his arm. Francona said it is not related to previous elbow issues. "Giving him a couple days to let trainers do their thing," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We want this to work."
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber makes his spring training debut against the Dodgers. The RHP went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA in 34 starts last year.