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Butler solid, Cubs scratch out seven runs vs. Royals

Special to MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alcides Escobar hit a leadoff home run for the Royals, but five Cubs pitchers combined to hold Kansas City to one other hit into the eighth inning and Chicago picked up a 7-3 victory at Surprise Stadium on Wednesday.

Victor Caratini had three hits for the Cubs, who took advantage of a Royals error to score two runs in the third. Javier Baez singled and scored from the leadoff spot. The Royals committed a pair of errors on the afternoon.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alcides Escobar hit a leadoff home run for the Royals, but five Cubs pitchers combined to hold Kansas City to one other hit into the eighth inning and Chicago picked up a 7-3 victory at Surprise Stadium on Wednesday.

Victor Caratini had three hits for the Cubs, who took advantage of a Royals error to score two runs in the third. Javier Baez singled and scored from the leadoff spot. The Royals committed a pair of errors on the afternoon.

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Escobar's homer was the only hit off Eddie Butler, acquired from the Rockies this offseason to add to the Cubs' pitching depth. Butler threw 21 pitches, 18 for strikes.

"That was my main goal going in there, was pound the strike zone and get early contact," Butler said. "One bad pitch -- but going in there, attacking the zone, [Escobar] hit a pitch. If I make the pitch, he doesn't hit it."

Royals right-hander Nathan Karns, in contention to be the team's fifth starter, threw two perfect innings in his first appearance with his new team. Karns, acquired in a January trade from the Mariners, struck out three and did not allow a ball out of the infield.

"I definitely had some adrenaline going into this one," Karns said. "It was nice to get the first one out of the way."

Cubs up next: The Cubs will play a split-squad, day-night doubleheader on Thursday. Lefty Rob Zastryzny will start the day game against the Reds in Goodyear, while right-hander Jake Buchanan will start a night game against the D-backs in Scottsdale. This will be the second Cactus League start for both pitchers. Both games can be heard exclusively on cubs.com.

Royals up next: Chris Young and Travis Wood, both competing for the fifth starter's job with Karns, will make their first Cactus League appearances of 2017 on Thursday. Young is scheduled to start against the Rockies in Surprise, with Wood to follow out of the bullpen. Listen live with Gameday Audio.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com.