Guthrie limits Padres to one run in final spring outing

Balanced offense led by two hits each from Morales and Moustakas

Guthrie limits Padres to one run in final spring outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jeremy Guthrie certainly didn't look like a No. 5 starter Tuesday, holding the Padres to one run over six innings as the Royals defeated the Padres, 4-1, at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Guthrie walked one and struck out six and Kendrys Morales and Mike Moustakas each had two hits as the Royals improved to 18-10.

San Diego pitcher Brandon Morrow, making his first appearance since March 21, because of a blister on his right ring finger, allowed three runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He is trying to win the fifth-starter spot in the rotation for the Padres (15-12-1).

"We didn't really help him and he didn't help himself," Padres manager Bud Black said of Morrow, who had a fielding error in the first inning.

"But I thought he strung some pitches together in the third and fourth. There wasn't a lot of hard contact. Overall, it was an outing that was encouraging."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Revenge of the catcher: The Royals ran silly against catcher Derek Norris -- then with the A's -- in last year's Wild Card Game, stealing seven bases, which led to their wild-and-wacky 9-8 extra-innings win. But Tuesday night, Norris nailed the Royals' two fastest runners -- Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain -- trying to steal. Norris probably didn't feel vindicated.

Norris throws out Dyson

Not left out: Padres reliever Frank Garces continues to add to his impressive spring resume. He entered the game with one out in the fifth inning Tuesday, struck out Alex Gordon and got Cain to ground out, lowering his ERA to 1.86. With Monday's trade of lefty Alex Torres, Garces looks like a smart bet to make the team as a lefty specialist.

Guthrie is nails: In his last "heavy" start (high pitch count) of the spring, Guthrie had the tying runs on board in the bottom of the third while facing the dangerous Matt Kemp. Guthrie got him looking for strike three, preserving a 3-1 lead.

Guthrie strikes out Middlebrooks

"It was a slider," Guthrie said. "For sure, a good pitch there, runners on and a dangerous guy. It was big against someone who was a dangerous hitter for the Dodgers last season."

QUOTABLE

"It's going to go right down to the wire, Sunday at 2 p.m."
-- Royals manager Ned Yost on what his 25-man roster will look like.

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Unless something goes really, really badly in these last two games here in Arizona, the Padres leave Arizona after Thursday's game with five projected Opening Day position-player regulars hitting .300 or higher: first baseman Yonder Alonso, right fielder Kemp, left fielder Justin Upton, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and shortstop Alexi Amarista.

In the middle of the seventh inning, Royals reserve outfielder Moises Sierra trotted out onto the field to replace Cain in center field. But Cain refused to leave, and waved Sierra, who retreated, rather awkwardly, back to the dugout.

Yost explained what happened: "Our trainer thought Cain might have been having a problem with his arch, but Lorenzo said he was fine and he just waved [Sierra] back."

ROSTER DECISIONS

The battle for the Padres' fifth-starter spot won't be decided in Arizona, Black said earlier Tuesday. Odrisamer Despaigne tossed 90 or so pitches in a Minor League game earlier Tuesday. He might be a better fit as the long reliever, but Black won't proclaim the winner between Morrow and Despaigne until later in the week, before rosters are set Sunday.

Black on Despaigne, Quentin

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.