Right-hander allows five hits, strikes out one; Gordon goes 3-for-3
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left fielder Alex Gordon, back in the Royals' lineup after missing a game with a bruised right shin, went 3-for-3 in a 6-6 tie with a White Sox split-squad on Thursday at Surprise Stadium.
"It was fine, it was good. It wasn't that bad -- just looked like a baseball on my shin," Gordon said. "But it went down pretty quickly, the trainers do a good job here."
The game was called after the White Sox rallied to tie the score in the ninth. Gordon had a triple and two singles, scored two runs and had one RBI for the 5-2-1 Royals. Shortstop Pedro Ciriaco's solo home run in the Royals' sixth inning snapped a 4-4 tie.
First baseman Jose Abreu, signed to a six-year, $68 million deal out of Cuba, belted a two-run homer in the fifth as the White Sox went ahead, 4-2, against veteran Brad Penny. Trying to restart his career after sitting out 2013, Penny gave up four runs on eight hits in his two innings.
The homer was the first for Abreu, who is 2-for-10 in the early going. The right-handed hitter lined the opposite-field homer into the right-field bullpen.
"I hit them all over the field. I hit the ball to all parts of the field," Abreu said. "Today, it was just an outside pitch and I was able to put it that way. But the important thing is I get them."
Getting his first homer out of the way didn't take any special weight off Abreu.
"The toughest game of Spring Training was my first game. It will be the same tomorrow and the same the rest of spring," he said. "I don't get too stressed or too uptight. I'm doing my work."
Royals starter Jason Vargas extended his string of scoreless innings to five with three more against the White Sox, despite giving up five singles. Alexei Ramirez had two of those hits, including a bunt single.
"We made some good defensive plays. I was able to work out of some guys getting on base. I was able to get some pitches down in the strike zone and pitches to get out of innings," Vargas said.
The Royals picked up single runs in the second and third against White Sox starter Chris Beck. Reliever Charlie Leesman escaped a no-out bases-loaded threat in the fourth. He retired Norichika Aoki on a sharp infield line drive and then got two flyouts.
Up next: Hot prospect Yordano Ventura, trying beat out Danny Duffy and Wade Davis for the fifth starting spot, will test his heat against the Giants at 2:05 p.m. CT, live via Gameday Audio, at Surprise Stadium. Ventura worked two scoreless innings against the Cubs on Sunday. Also listed to pitch are Davis, Greg Holland, Tim Collins, Michael Mariot and Jon Rauch. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, who had been away on paternity leave, is ready to go and will start the game. The Giants' probable starting pitcher is Tim Lincecum.
The Royals will also play a "B" game against the Rangers at 10:30 a.m. at George Brett Field. P.J. Walters and Justin Marks will pitch for the Royals against the Rangers' newly-signed Joe Saunders. Royals catcher Ramon Hernandez will test his tender knee by playing first base.