SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Fighting for a spot on the Royals' Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder, former Tiger Tyler Collins showed a flash of what he can bring at the plate.
Collins walked and scored, singled and displayed some solid situational hitting when he flied deep to right with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning of the Royals' 3-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. The Royals won it on Humberto Arteaga's walk-off single in the ninth.
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Collins, signed to a Minor League deal, would have had a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but Jorge Soler was thrown out at second base before Alcides Escobar crossed home plate, although it appeared that Escobar already had crossed the plate (there is no replay in Spring Training).
"The guy made a heck of a throw to get the runner at second," Collins said. "Probably during the regular season we manufacture a run there."
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Left-hander Eric Skoglund started Wednesday and breezed through two innings. Skoglund, who made his Major League debut last season, is hoping to find a spot in the Royals' bullpen.
Skoglund gave up one hit and one unearned run. He threw 25 pitches, 18 for strikes.
"It felt good to finally get out there and compete with the boys," Skoglund said. "I was down in the zone for the most part and got some first-pitch strikes."
Skoglund has made an adjustment to his mechanics this spring, holding his hands lower for an easier transition as he starts his motion.
"Less moving parts," he said. "My hands are lower when I take the ball out of my glove. It's helped with my command."
Saunders ready to go
Manager Ned Yost indicated that outfielder/DH Michael Saunders, signed last week, should see his first game action Thursday. Like first baseman Lucas Duda, who was signed Wednesday, Saunders could provide a much-needed left-handed presence in the lineup.
Karns all systems go
Right-hander Nathan Karns, who had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last season, has looked great in side sessions, according to Yost.
"No setbacks, he's ready to go," Yost said. "I like what I've seen."
Karns is expected to make his spring debut within the week.
Veteran Cody Asche, trying to give Cheslor Cuthbert competition at third base, made an error in the first that led to a run. But Asche also drove in a run with a single in the second inning. Asche also drew a walk and scored a run.
Right-hander Burch Smith, a Rule 5 acquisition trying to grab a bullpen spot, will start for the Royals on Thursday in Peoria against the Mariners in a 2:10 p.m. CT start airing on MLB.TV and an exclusive Royals audio webcast. Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who's vying for a rotation spot, is also expected to throw.