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Hosmer homers in Royals’ loss to A’s

March 12, 2012

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— After a strong debut, Yoenis Cespedes struggled in his second spring game in the majors.

A day after the Cuban defector homered in his first game, he went hitless in three at-bats, with a walk, in the Oakland A’s 10-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

“I thought he had some decent at-bats,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He didn’t have the results he had yesterday, but I think we can give him a break. We were probably all expecting him to get three more hits and hit a couple home runs, but he looks good up there. They threw him some good pitches.”

Cespedes flied out, lined out and struck out. He also drew a walk and was shaken up briefly when he fouled a ball off the top of his left foot, but stayed in the game.

He is 2 for 6 in his two games with the A’s, who signed him to a four-year, $36-million deal earlier this month. Cespedes, who was the designated hitter on Sunday, is scheduled to play next on Tuesday, when he’ll be back in center field.

Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer drove in four runs, including two on his first homer of the spring.

“It kind of gets the monkey off your back a little bit,” Hosmer said. “It’s a good feeling getting that swing and building off it for the rest of spring training.”

Hosmer, who hadn’t homered in his first 17 spring training at-bats, hit it off left-hander Tommy Milone. Last year Hosmer hit .237 with only one of his 19 homers against left-handed pitchers.

“This was a guy who keeps you off balance and changes speeds a lot, so I was just focusing on taking that ball to left-center,” said Hosmer, who lifted his average to .316. “It was a changeup, and I stayed on it.”

Milone, a leading candidate for one of the three vacant spots in the rotation, gave up just those two runs in 3 2/3 innings. He’s allowed three earned runs in 8 2/3 innings this spring.

“I feel good,” he said. “Since the first bullpen session, I’ve really had the command that I want. I’ve thrown strikes and kept the ball low. I’ve felt more in season form now than in previous years. Usually it comes a little later.”

Royals starter Bruce Chen bounced back for a rough first start to give up one run in three innings.

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