Mondesi delivers big hit for Royals; Pujols debuts
By AJ Cassavell
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Royals top prospect Raul Mondesi knocked in a pair of runs with a fifth-inning single, leading the Royals to a 6-1 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Kansas City tacked on a couple more in the seventh with a well-executed suicide squeeze by Ramon Torres and an RBI triple by second baseman Dusty Coleman. The Royals added two more in the eighth on Orlando Calixte's RBI triple and Balbino Fuenmayor's ensuing single. The victory is the reigning World Series champs' first in Cactus League play.
Angels starter Nick Tropeano -- who is in the mix for a rotation spot but probably on the outside looking in -- was sharp over two perfect innings. His slider and changeup were especially impressive, and he fanned both Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon on swinging strikes outside of the zone.
"I'm really not too worried about any of that," Tropeano said of the Angels' rotation race. "I feel like all of us are going to contribute at some point. We have Major League-caliber pitchers, and we're all going to try to help this team win a championship."
The Royals' Chris Young, also making his first start of the spring, wasn't as crisp, as he allowed three hits and a walk in two innings. He managed to escape a first-and-third jam in the first inning, but allowed a run in the second on Carlos Perez's sacrifice fly.
"I thought they all threw the ball well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Chris, a big guy, takes him a little time to get going, but he threw well. Our pitching was good all day. It was a good day."
Albert Pujols, who was making his spring debut after undergoing offseason foot surgery, went 0-for-3 as the Angels designated hitter.
The Angels flashed some leather early, as C.J. Cron opened the game with a diving stop. Three innings later, left fielder Daniel Nava covered some serious ground before making a running grab just in front of the foul pole, robbing Christian Colon of extra bases.
"We laughed because it has been a couple of springs and Terrance Gore hasn't gotten a hit. Soon as he got it, [bench coach Don Wakamatsu] said, 'We're going to have to change his number to 1.'" -- Yost on Gore, who wears No. 0, on recording his first spring hit ... ever
Up next for the Royals: The Royals will head to Mesa for split-squad games Monday at 2:05 p.m. CT (1:05 local) against the Cubs (listen live on Gameday Audio) and against the A's. Right-hander Kris Medlen will make his first start of the spring against the Cubs. Right-hander Luke Hochevar also will make his first appearance and will follow Medlen. Against the A's, right-hander Kyle Zimmer will make his second spring start -- he pitched two scoreless innings in the Cactus League opener against the Rangers.
Up next for the Angels: The Halos' rotation race takes center stage Monday as the squad splits for a pair of games. Hector Santiago, who figures to be the front-runner for one of the final spots in the starting five, gets the ball in Tempe against the White Sox at 12:10 p.m. PT (1:10 local, watch live on MLB.TV). Matt Shoemaker, who is also fighting for a starting job, will head to Goodyear to face the Reds at 12:05 PT (listen live on Gameday Audio).
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.