Guthrie dominates in pitching duel with Mariners

Royals starter goes 5 2/3 shutout innings in matchup with ace Hernandez

Guthrie dominates in pitching duel with Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw six strong innings while allowing just two hits and one run Thursday, but Royals veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was even better with 5 2/3 scoreless frames in a 3-0 Cactus League pitchers' duel, won by Kansas City, at Peoria Stadium.

Guthrie, making just his second Cactus League start after missing one turn with a stomach virus, didn't allow a baserunner until Nelson Cruz singled leading off the fifth. Seattle's only other hit off Guthrie was a single by Shawn O'Malley in the sixth.

"That went pretty well," said Guthrie, 35, who will begin the season as the Royals' fifth starter. "I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. I kept the ball down for the most part, too."

Guthrie is expected to make one more start in Arizona next week, then have another throwing session when the Royals travel to Houston for the final two exhibition games.

The Royals nicked Hernandez for a run in the third when Christian Colon laced a leadoff double down the left-field line, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Jarrod Dyson's sacrifice fly to center.

Dyson's sac fly in the 3rd

Hernandez, who'll be making his club-record eighth Opening Day start April 6, bounced back strongly from a rare rough outing in which he gave up six hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Cubs last Saturday. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter in his 65-pitch outing.

"Good command, good pitches," Hernandez said. "I was trying to throw zeros. The changeup was nice, the slider was good, the fastball was unbelievable. I was finding the strike zone, I was down in the zone and getting a lot of ground balls. It was good."

First baseman Casey Kotchman flared a single to left leading off the sixth for the Royals' second hit off Hernandez, but was erased on a double-play grounder by Alcides Escobar as Hernandez faced just one batter over the minimum in his six innings.

Seattle's split-squad lineup contained two starters called up from Minor League camp, including 2014 first-round Draft pick Alex Jackson. Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar gave up a two-run single to Ryan Jackson in the eighth.

Jackson drives in two in the 8th

Ryan Madson pitched around Whit Merrifield's error in the ninth to earn the save.

"He keeps showing some really good changeups with really good location," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Madson. "He's really been a good find for us."

Madson gets the save

Royals Up Next: The Royals will send out right-hander Yordano Ventura, just named the Opening Day starter, against the Mariners on Friday in an 8:05 p.m. CT start at Surprise Stadium. The game can be seen on MLB.TV and heard on MLB Gameday Audio.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.