Ventura, Royals shut down the Rangers
Right-hander earns spot in KC rotation with six scoreless innings, six K's
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals wore their bright green jerseys on Monday night in honor of St. Patrick's Day and then had a party at the expense of the Texas Rangers.
Even the type face of the press notes was green.
The Royals scored three times each in the bottom of the second and fourth innings as starter Yordano Ventura pitched six strong innings of four-hit ball and was named by manager Ned Yost to the Royals' starting rotation after the game. Ventura struck out six and earned the win as the Royals prevailed 6-0 in the battle of the two teams that share Surprise Stadium.
"I felt good and I was throwing a lot of strikes," Ventura said. "Salvador Perez did a good job calling the game. I used to start off throwing hard right from when I was warming up. Tonight, I started off slower and built myself up. I've been working on that."
The Royals won for the ninth time in 19 Cactus League games, while the Rangers lost for the 11th time in the same number.
The Royals scored three times off Rangers starter Matt Harrison in the second, chasing Harrison with two out in the inning. The big blows were an RBI double by Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain's run-scoring single.
"The big thing is I felt good," Harrison said. "It was good to get back out there. I let the game speed up on me a little bit and had a little trouble slowing it down. I fell behind a couple of hitters and left some balls up. I definitely need to throw my offspeed stuff and just get the feeling back."
Moustakas and Cain each had a pair of hits in the game. Aoki and Johnny Giavotella had run-scoring singles in the fourth.
Rangers left fielder Mitch Moreland left in the third inning with a sore left oblique. Joe Saunders pitched four innings of relief for Texas, allowing two runs.
Meanwhile, Ventura allowed only four singles, hit a batter and was charged with a balk. It was his longest outing of the spring in his fourth appearance, three of them starts. He has now stuck out 15 in 15 1/3 spring innings.
Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Alex Rios each had a single off Ventura, a non-roster invitee to camp a year ago.
Omar Infante was a late scratch from the Royals' starting lineup with a sore right elbow. Yost said that he wanted to give Infante a couple of days off and that it should be a short-term thing.
Up next: The Royals have an off day on Tuesday, their only off day of the Cactus League schedule. They resume on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium in another 8:05 p.m. CT start, this one against the Reds. Alfredo Simon is slated to pitch for the Reds against Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals. Manager New Yost said injured shortstop Alcides Escobar will work on throws as he recovers from a sore right elbow with the hope of a Minor League start on Thursday.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.