Day 5 brought another beautiful day in Arizona. I was going to head to Maryvale to see the KC Royals play Milwaukee. But since it was mostly a big league game, I decided to stay in Surprise to see the upper level Royals play the LA Dodgers on the backfields.
Yordano Ventura made the start for the Triple-A squad, while Matt Tenuta started in the Double-A game.
Drew Butera also caught Ventura, which he did yesterday with Edinson Volquez (Volquez was in attendance today). My thinking is that Butera has won the backup catcher job over Tony Cruz (Butera walked twice).
Anyway, Ventura got two quick outs to start the game (two ground outs). Erisbiel Arruebarrena then worked a 3-2 count before striking out. Ventura wasn’t as sharp in the 2nd inning, as he allowed back-to-back doubles to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. He then walked Lars Anderson, before getting a called third strike to end the inning (yup, Ventura only recorded one out).
I missed the third (I was checking out Tenuta and the Double-A squad), but Ventura was much better in the fourth. He struck out the side, though he did allow a two out double. In the fifth, Ventura allowed a single to left and then a fly out to right.
I thought Ventura was done because the fifth only saw two batters, but he was back out for the sixth. He induced three quick ground outs, two of which were hit to first baseman Jose Martinez.
Through six innings, the Triple-A offense was held in check by the Dodgers. Brett Eibner led off and struck out three times, twice with men in scoring position.
Martinez singled in the first down the first base line and Balbino Fuenmayor grounded back to the pitcher in the first and singled down the right field line in the fourth. Hunter Dozier doubled in the sixth to center and everything he hits is hard right now.
In the seventh, lefty Matt Strahm entered in relief. He struggled a bit with his command to start. Still 1-0 Dodgers, Alex Hassan homered with two outs in the seventh. In the eighth, Strahm allowed a one out single to Jack Murphy. I missed the ninth, but Strahm’s best inning was his last (the tenth). He struck out two of the three batters he faced (including former big leaguer Brandon Hicks).
The Triple-A Royals offense came to life in the later innings to win. Cheslor Cuthbert didn’t look great in his earlier at-bats, but singled to right center in the seventh.
In the ninth, Dominique Taylor blooped a double into right field. Dusty Coleman doubled him in with a ball down the left field line. Zane Evans followed with a two-run home run to tie the game at 3-3. Angelo Castellano followed with a single and Robert Pehl doubled him in for the 4-3 lead (and win).
Now to the Double-A game.
Josh Sborz started for the Dodgers and struggled right out of the gate. In the second, Cam Gallagher popped up to second and Mauricio Ramos followed with a ground out. Frank Schwindel (who started at first base and caught the final three innings) singled to left. He came around to score on Angel Franco‘s triple to dead center. Rudy Martin made the final out, but was beat to the bag at first base by just a half-step. I would like to see Martin in a race against Terrance Gore.
Tenuta’s second was rocky, as the Dodgers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. However, he got Drew Maggi to hit into a 5-5-3 double play (which scored a run).
The Royals went down quickly against Sborz in the third, as Jose Sanchez struck out, Humberto Arteaga flied out, and Alfredo Escalera grounded out first.
I missed the middle innings of the Double-A game, but saw the final two. Tim Hill (has he always thrown sidearm?) was VERY efficient in the ninth. He induced three ground outs to Mike Hill at third base. The first two, Mike charged and threw on the run.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Royals tacked on a few more runs, three on a no doubt Bubba Starling homer.
In the tenth, Evan Beal wasn’t as sharp as he was on Tuesday. He allowed two straight singles to start the inning (the last almost took Beal’s head off). An RBI double cut the lead to 11-3. Beal walked the next hitter, before an RBI single ended the game.
*In big league news, lefty Tim Collins will need a second Tommy John surgery. He was just coming back from the first.