Mendoza continues sizzling spring vs. Crew
Right-hander records seven strikeouts in Royals' victory
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luis Mendoza made another strong pitch for a spot in the Royals' starting rotation, striking out seven batters over 4 2/3 innings of a 9-4 win over a Brewers split squad on Friday.Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz drove in three runs and was one of three Royals with multiple hits. The others were Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, who scored two runs apiece. The Brewers didn't have a hit until Aramis Ramirez led off the fifth inning with a single. Three batters later, Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy delivered a two-out single to break up Mendoza's shutout and knock the right-hander from the game. "Everything was working good -- my sinker for strikes and I just tried to keep ahead of the hitters," Mendoza said. "I think every start my arm feels better and stronger. I just keep learning things in the games. I'm learning how to mix up my pitches more and I threw more breaking balls this time." Lucroy's hit snapped Mendoza's 10-inning spring scoreless streak. The Pacific Coast League's 2011 Pitcher of the Year has one walk, 11 strikeouts and a 0.84 ERA in three Cactus League starts.
Mendoza fared much better than fellow Mexican native Yovani Gallardo, who was in a 4-0 hole after two innings. Gallardo worked a 1-2-3 third inning before calling it a day; he was charged with four runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout.The problem, Gallardo said, was tempo. Rushing to the plate created command issues. "The second inning was worse than the first; I just kind of lost it," said Gallardo, who added he was pleased "to go back for the third and kind of slow everything down and focus on making quality pitches." Corey Patterson belted a two-run homer in the ninth off Royals reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
The Brewers dropped both ends of a split-squad doubleheader for the third time this spring.
Up next for the Royals: Third baseman Mike Moustakas, recovered from a knee bruise that was followed by a stomach virus, is scheduled to be in the starting lineup against the Padres at 9:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Peoria, Ariz., live on MLB.TV. Out since last Monday, when he was struck in the knee by a pitch, Moustakas returned to play the last four innings of Friday's game against the Brewers. Manager Ned Yost will take virtually the entire squad to Peoria because Monday is an open date in the training schedule. Left-hander Bruce Chen will start the game, with reliever Jonathan Broxton also scheduled to pitch.