SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — C.J. Wilson continued his strong spring start against the Kansas City Royals.
Wilson, who signed a five-year $77.5 million contract in December, allowed three hits in five scoreless innings, but the Angels bullpen faltered and the Royals rallied for a 6-4 victory Tuesday.
Wilson struck out five, including the side in the first inning, and walked none. In four exhibition starts, Wilson is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, allowing one run and eight hits in 14 innings.
“You can look at trends, but obviously it’s a small sample side,” Wilson said. “I’ve thrown 14 innings. It’s not like 100 innings to say this is exactly what’s going on. Each time I go out there I have a goal and I’m accomplishing those goals every time. I’m trying to continue to push that goal, push that carrot a little bit further ahead of me, so that way I’m making it difficult.”
The next time Wilson could face the Royals might be in early April as the teams open the season with three games in Anaheim.
“It’s an indicator,” Wilson said. “Today was pretty much their A-lineup. So these are guys that are familiar with me and guys I’m familiar with too. Brayan Pena smoked that ball up the middle, so that’s something I’ve got to go to the drawing board and make sure I don’t get beat the same way by him.”
Wilson threw 48 strikes in 75 pitches.
“He was really, really sharp,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The ball was exploding out of his hand. I kept looking up there at the radar gun, saying geez that looks 95-96 (mph) and it was 92, but it had tons of life. He kept the ball down, worked both sides of the plate extremely well. He’s tough.”
Yost was also impressed with his starter, Felipe Paulino, who allowed one run and three hits in four innings, while striking out four and walking none.
“I thought he threw the ball extremely well,” Yost said. “He commanded the ball, had good stuff, kept the ball down and got through four innings pretty efficiently.”
Jordan Walden, who saved 32 games last year, replaced Wilson and gave up four runs and five hits, retiring only one of the six batters he faced.
“It just shows I’ve got a lot of work to do this spring,” Walden said. “I’ve still got to locate the fastball.”
Billy Butler’s RBI double was the key hit in the inning.
“It was nice to see us come alive against their closer,” Yost said.
The Angels tied it in the eighth on Vernon Wells’ home run.
Minor leaguer Brian Fletcher’s RBI double in the bottom of the inning put the Royals ahead.
Notes: Kendry Morales was scheduled to make his Angels spring training debut Tuesday, but did not play because of soreness in his right calf. Morales has not played since May 29, 2010, when he fractured his left ankle. Morales has nine at-bats in spring training minor league games. … The Royals acquired C Humberto Quintero and OF Jason Bourgeois from Houston for minor league LHP Kevin Chapman and a minor league player to be named. The Royals have been searching for help behind the plate since starting C Salvador Perez had knee surgery last week and is likely out until July.