Phoenix Yordano Ventura struck out six in 4 1/3 innings, and Salvador Perez hit a two-run home run, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
“I like his composure. I like the way that game doesn’t speed up on him for a young player,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of the 22-year-old Ventura. “He always seems to be in control of his emotions on the mound.”
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas continued his torrid spring, going 3 for 3 with a solo homer, double and single to raise his batting average to .500 in 11 games. Moustakas has four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Moustakas recorded two of his hits with two strikes.
“His whole focus this spring has primarily been with two strikes,” Yost said. “In the cage and the drills that they do, it’s a two-strike approach.”
Ventura allowed a run on two hits, leaving after giving up a single to Oakland’s Derek Norris.
“I felt good. I threw good pitches and I threw a lot of strikes,” Ventura said in Spanish.
The Royals scored three runs in the sixth inning off A’s reliever Sean Doolittle. Billy Butler doubled with one out and scored on Perez’s two-out long ball.
Perez is 10 for 21 in spring training and returned after missing most of Monday’s and all of Tuesday’s game because of a bruised left palm.
Royals: Ventura, a right-hander from the Dominican Republic who is one of the Royals’ top prospects, has the statistical edge over teammate Danny Duffy so far in spring training. Ventura or Duffy look to be the third man in the regular-season starting rotation between two left-handers, Jason Vargas and Bruce Chen.
Perez said Ventura was working both sides of the plate and had a good changeup, but that he has to talk to him at times to make sure he doesn’t always throw hard.