Ventura impressive in first start for Royals
- Article by: RICK EYMER
- Associated Press
- March 9, 2013 - 9:19 PM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Yordano Ventura chanced upon his first start and made the most of it.
Ventura pitched three hitless innings, Johnny Giavotella and Brett Hayes each drove in four runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 13-2 Saturday.
Billy Butler and David Lough each added three hits. The Royals finished with 20 hits, including nine in 1 2-3 innings against Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit.
Brandon Belt hit his fourth homer for the Giants.
Ventura, considered the Royals' top pitching prospect, made his first start of the spring and fourth appearance overall. He got this chance when Wade Davis was scratched with shoulder soreness, and extended his hitless streak to five innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Giants reliever Javier Lopez made his spring debut, allowing a run on three hits in one inning. He struck out two.
The Giants were held hitless until Gregor Blanco tripled with one out in the sixth.
"The fans really cheered hard for that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That shows they were into it."
Lopez suffered a contusion on his right wrist on the eve of the exhibition schedule. He was playing catch with teammate Madison Bumgarner and squatted, like a catcher, to give Bumgarner a target. Lopez was struck flush just above his left wrist.
"It felt good just to get out there again," Lopez said.
Ventura, who reached Double-A for the first time late last season, said he felt comfortable.
"I kept my fastball down and my breaking ball was good," he said. "It was good experience."
Ventura, who will likely start in Double-A this year, certainly impressed his teammates.
"We don't call him `Ace' for nothing," Giavotella said. "You can see the velocity explode out of his hand."
Butler said he would not be surprised to see Ventura in the majors sooner rather than later.
"He has an electric fastball," Butler said. "He commands the ball well. I see a guy who can contribute for us this year. He's not far from the big leagues."
The Royals lead all major league teams with their .341 batting average and have collected 10 or more hits in 10 of their 14 games.
"We're just playing together and have a lot of confidence," Butler said. "We really enjoy playing with each other. Basically all we are doing is going out and having fun."
Lough, who upped his average to .565 (13 for 23) on the spring, said getting a chance to play in the big leagues last September was a confidence booster.
"I made a minor adjustment with my legs and I'm seeing the ball better," Lough said. "I did bring a lot of confidence into spring after getting my feet wet and being around the guys."
NOTES: Royals RHP Luke Hochevar is scheduled to start Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angels. ... Giants RHP Matt Cain is slated to make the start at the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. ... Petit gave up eight runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out two. ... The Royals are also the best pitching team in the majors. Starters have an ERA of 2.43 (nine runs in 33 1-3 innings). ... The Royals have been behind in 13 of the 126 innings played. ... Giants LHP Luis Mijares (left elbow posterior impingement) is getting close to appearing in a game. ... Belt has 13 hits in his last 23 at bats.
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