SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Peter O'Brien, acquired from the D-backs in the offseason, hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Royals to a 7-5 victory over the Rangers on Saturday afternoon in the Cactus League opener for both teams.O'Brien's home run came off of
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Peter O'Brien, acquired from the D-backs in the offseason, hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Royals to a 7-5 victory over the Rangers on Saturday afternoon in the Cactus League opener for both teams.
O'Brien's home run came off of Anthony Bass, who is trying to win a job as a middle reliever. This marked the first of five games this spring between the teams that share the Surprise training facility. In his return to the Rangers, Mike Napoli produced an RBI single in the third.
• Royals, Rangers honor Ventura
Two catchers headed for the World Baseball Classic enjoyed a strong first game. Royals catcher Salvador Perez, getting ready to play for Venezuela, went 2-for-2 with a run-scoring double and a three-run homer. The double came off Rangers starter Martin Perez, who will also compete for Venezuela. Perez allowed two runs on four hits in two innings.
Perez helped the Royals take a 5-0 lead in the third, but the Rangers rallied for five runs in the bottom of the inning. Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy capped the rally with a two-run double. Lucroy will participate in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA.
"He's a good guy, one of the best catchers in the game," Lucroy said of Perez. "It will be fun. We are all looking forward to it."
• Rangers' Griffin opens fifth-starter competition
Royals rookie starter Josh Staumont, making his first Cactus League start, pitched a scoreless first inning although he walked two and threw 23 pitches. Staumont has routinely hit 100 mph with his fastball, but he topped out at about 95 on Saturday.
"I wish I had a little better command," said Staumont, the Royals' third-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. "I was standing a little too tall and cutting too much. Other than that, it was really nice to get out of there scoreless. There's no need in Spring Training to go out there guns blazing."
Royals Up Next: Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who missed most of last season after right ACL surgery, likely makes his first start of the Cactus League when the Royals play host to the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT at Surprise Stadium. Listen live on Gameday Audio. Right-hander Kyle Zimmer gets the start for the Royals.
Rangers Up Next:Shin-Soo Choo will start at designated hitter against the Royals. Choo, who played just 48 games for the Rangers last season, will be used at both DH and right field this spring. Right-hander Yu Darvish starts for the Rangers.. .
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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.