Big inning backs up Nicasio in strong start
Four singles plate three in fifth frame; LeMahieu, Arenado combine for five hits
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, pitching against a Rockies team that traded him to the Royals last July, took the loss on Tuesday as Colorado defeated Kansas City, 7-2, at Surprise Stadium.
Guthrie got through four scoreless innings, but he was tagged for three runs in the fifth.
Jordan Pacheco and Nolan Arenado each singled, and after an out, Yorvit Torrealba singled to left field. Alex Gordon launched a throw high above catcher Salvador Perez and two runs scored on the play. DJ LeMahieu singled home the third run.
Guthrie gave up a fourth run in the sixth inning on two-out singles by Michael Cuddyer, Pacheco and Arenado. Pacheco was thrown out trying to score, ending the inning.
The Rockies tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth, two of them coming on a bases-loaded double by Corey Dickerson.
Mike Moustakas' home run to right field off Rockies starter Juan Nicasio gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the second inning. That was the only damage to Nicasio in his five innings.
Nicasio, a hard thrower who is trying to diversify his pitching plan, threw fastballs reaching 97 mph -- Eric Hosmer was the victim of two blazing strikeouts -- but he also used his developing changeup.
"I was working like it was in the season -- keeping my fastball down, throwing a lot of changeups and sliders down," Nicasio said. "It was like a normal game."
Moustakas also singled and raised his average to .426 (20-for-47), so he's happy with his batting stroke at this point.
"I've been working on it all offseason, getting back to how I used to hit, and I'm trying to get more comfortable in the box and I feel like I've gotten to that point," Moustakas said. "So I'll just kind of stay here and keep going from where we're at."
Rockies up next: The Rockies are off Wednesday, but lefty Jeff Francis, the scheduled starter for the April 5 home opener against the Padres, will pitch in a Minor League game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Lefty Drew Pomeranz will start against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. MT.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.