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03/18/11 12:48 AM ET

O'Sullivan struggles as he works on delivery

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Sean O'Sullivan didn't have much luck of the Irish as he pitched five innings in a Minor League intrasquad game on St. Patrick's Day.

He gave up seven hits and seven runs (six earned) with one walk and four strikeouts. The problem was that he regressed a bit in his effort to overhaul his delivery, according to pitching coach Bob McClure.

"On the good side, he pitched well, but he was leaving too many balls up that were easy to get to," McClure said. "He's still got to stay down in the zone more. That's the main focus for him, just pitching at the knees like he did against San Diego and staying down there. Up has got to be only by design; I'd rather he'd just be down, down, down."

McClure and O'Sullivan eliminated what was termed a pause in his motion and that was deemed a success.

"We saw the difference -- that was night and day. So you know it's right -- it's one motion -- boom. It's shorter. ... He had no trouble keeping the ball down when he was doing it right," McClure said.

So more repetitions of the motion are ahead for O'Sullivan.

"It's got to be something to where he doesn't even think about it; he's just doing it," McClure said. "And that takes a lot of reps."

Francis bounces back after rough outing

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals left-hander Jeff Francis got knocked around in a Minor League intrasquad game the other day, but in returning to Cactus League action on Thursday night, he was superb against the Mariners.

He gave up just one hit, a home run, in five innings of work and faced just 16 batters, one over the minimum.

"It was good, I was able to throw a lot of strikes for the most part, I think I stayed ahead of more guys than I got behind. The only one that cost me was the home run," Francis said.

Ryan Langerhans drilled a fastball, left up and away, over the center-field wall.

Luis Mendoza continued his bid for a bullpen job with three more scoreless innings. He has yet to be scored upon in 10 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits and two walks.

"Francis and Mendoza were pretty darn efficient tonight," manager Ned Yost said. "They were banging strikes, they were changing speeds, they were keeping the ball down. I think after the eighth inning, we had 103 pitches, which is phenomenal."

Royals continue hot hitting against Mariners

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals not only raised their Cactus League record to 13-6-1 on Thursday night, they boosted their team batting average to .305.

In a 9-1 rout of the Mariners, they banged out 15 hits and nine of them were against the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, Felix Hernandez. There was no indication of what was coming because, after two runners reached base in the first inning, Hernandez mowed down Billy Butler, Kila Ka'aihue and Alex Gordon -- all on strikeouts.

"After the first inning, I thought, 'Well, you could see why he won the Cy Young last year,'" Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I mean, he was dominating and we just started pecking away. Billy hit a big home run, [Jarrod] Dyson had a big night by being a catalyst and [wreaking] havoc on the basepaths."

In addition to three infield hits, Dyson stole two bases, bringing his spring total up to six. Dyson, trying to win an outfield job, is batting .423 (11-for-26).

"Dyson can make people upset, entire defenses upset and pitchers upset. It takes them out of their game and that's the component he brings," Yost said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.