Moustakas belts two homers to lift Royals vs. Cubs
Rotation candidates Davis, Ventura deal scoreless innings in first spring action
MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Moustakas belted two home runs to power the Royals to a 5-3 Cactus League victory over the Cubs on Sunday in front of a Cactus League single-game record crowd of 14,680 at Cubs Park.
The old attendance mark was set on Thursday at the new spring stadium's opener against the D-backs when 14,486 filled the park.
Royals starter Wade Davis, who is a second cousin of former Cubs catcher Jody Davis, gave up one hit over two innings in his first Cactus League start. Davis and Yordano Ventura, who followed Davis on Sunday and faced the minimum over two innings, are both candidates for a spot in the Royals' rotation.
Chicago's Edwin Jackson, hoping to rebound from a season in which he led the National League with 18 losses, struck out three and did not walk a batter over two innings in his first Cactus League start.
"Edwin has a fantastic arm, and when he commands the zone, he's an excellent pitcher," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "The thing is to take a guy who is very durable, and hopefully as he continues to pitch, [get him to] command the zone a little better."
Jackson gave up three hits, including a leadoff home run in the Royals' second to Moustakas, who launched a 2-2 pitch to right. Moustakas then connected off Carlos Villanueva with one on and two outs in the third to open a 3-0 lead. The Royals' third baseman is now 5-for-9 this spring.
"I got a slider off of Jackson that was a good two-strike pitch, and I was able to catch it out front a little bit," Moustakas said. "And I got a 3-2 fastball from Villanueva, just put good swings on it, not trying to do too much. Those guys are working on things, too, so it was nice to be able to have some results."
Norichika Aoki added a sacrifice fly in the Royals' fourth and Carlos Peguero hit an RBI single with two outs in the fifth.
The Cubs tallied with two outs in the fifth on Darwin Barney's RBI double, driving in Donnie Murphy, who had singled. Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth, and Rizzo then scored on Justin Ruggiano's single to close to 5-3. With the loss, the Cubs and Renteria are now 0-3.
Up next: The Royals get a first glimpse of the White Sox, their opponent in the April 4 home opener in Kansas City, at 2:05 p.m. CT on Monday at Glendale, Ariz. Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals' top winner (15-12) last year, will start followed by Luke Hochevar, trying to return to the rotation after a year in the bullpen. Also listed as possible pitchers are Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Cory Wade, Justin Marks and Donnie Joseph. The White Sox probable starter is left-hander Jose Quintana.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.