Glendale, Ariz. Mike Aviles knew Mark Buehrle wasn’t as sharp as he would be in the regular season.
He didn’t mind.
Aviles doubled, singled twice and scored two runs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-3, Sunday.
The Royals had 17 hits, seven for extra bases. They tagged Buehrle for five runs and nine hits in three innings.
“It’s spring. He was throwing more balls over the heart of the plate, which is not him,” Aviles said. “Normally he’s on the corners, but he was leaving a couple balls up.”
Clint Robinson had two RBI singles for Kansas City, prompting starter Luke Hochevar to offer his offense a proposition.
“I’ll take them to dinner every night if we’re scoring runs like that in the regular season,” he said.
In the mix for the opening-day start, Hochevar allowed three hits and one run in three innings of work. He allowed four hits and a run in two innings in his spring debut last week.
“I was a lot sharper than my first time, especially with my command on my off-speed stuff,” he said. “I felt good enough to go another (inning), which is a good sign this early.”
Buehrle dodged a scare in the third inning when his defensive prowess was put to the test. Lorenzo Cain’s line drive headed right for Buehrle, but the two-time defending Gold Glove winner caught it.
“I was just getting out of the way, and it went in my glove. It was just reaction,” Buehrle said. “Hopefully it got on TV so I don’t have to make another play the rest of the year.”
As for results, Buehrle was just happy the performance came in March.
“I got my work in, and I’m healthy. That’s all that matters,” he said. “I might have missed a couple of spots.”
Adam Dunn drove in his first run of the spring, a single in the first inning that scored Alexei Ramirez. He singled again in the sixth. Juan Pierre, Brent Lillibridge and Tyler Flowers each added two hits for the White Sox.
Lance Zawadzki and Pedro Feliz hit solo home runs for the Royals.