Tribe bats quiet in 'bullpen day' loss to Royals
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Royals sent right-hander Wade Davis to the mound on Tuesday, beginning the unveiling process for the team's revamped rotation.
In a preseason clash with the rival Indians, Davis turned in two shutout innings to set the tone for a 4-1 victory for Kansas City. It marked the first loss of the spring for an overhauled Cleveland club that is led by new manager Terry Francona.
With a longer spring slate this year due to the added element of the World Baseball Classic, the Royals have taken a gradual approach with Davis and fellow starters James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. Davis is the first of that foursome to take the mound in a Cactus League contest.
The Royals (4-0-1) struck for one run in the first inning against Indians reliever Matt Albers, who logged one inning as a starter on what Francona described as a "bullpen day." Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer drew a one-out walk, and later crossed home plate on an RBI single off the bat of designated hitter Billy Butler.
"When he gets going a little bit better, you're going to see a little more life through the zone than he's shown his first two times out," Francona said of Albers. "I think he was a little frustrated today. I think he was a little frustrated last time, too. It's early. You'll see better life in the zone."
In the top of the third inning, Hosmer got things rolling again. Jarrod Dyson reached via walk against Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw -- a candidate for the Opening Day bullpen -- and then stole second base. Hosmer later tripled to center field, scoring Dyson to push Kansas City to a 2-0 lead.
Butler launched his first home run of the spring in the fifth inning. Facing Indians Minor League left-hander Giovanni Soto, Butler belted a pitch deep to left for a two-run blast that put the Indians (5-1) in a 4-0 hole.
"I missed a couple pitches earlier over-swinging on that at-bat," Butler said. "Then I calmed down and took a normal two-strike swing."
Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez turned in a clean second inning against Kansas City. The Indians didn't get on the board until Matt Carson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Royals pitching prospect Yordan Ventura, who started for the World team in last summer's All-Star Futures Game, turned in two shutout innings behind Davis. Ventura allowed one hit, struck out two and ended with no walks.
Up next for Indians: Right-hander Brett Myers, who signed a one-year contract with the Indians over the offseason, is scheduled to make his second Cactus League start of the spring when the Tribe hosts the Mariners at 3:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Rotation hopeful Corey Kluber is also slated to pitch, along with bullpen candidates Cody Allen, Rich Hill and Nick Hagadone.