Royals outslug Brewers 9-7
PHOENIX—Bruce Chen rebounded in a big way for the Kansas City Royals.
Chen, who allowed 10 runs and 10 hits in his previous start, gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings and the Royals hit five homers in a 9-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
After the game, Royals manager Ned Yost said Chen will be the opening day starter April 9 against the Los Angeles Angels.
"It means a lot to me to pitch in that first game. It's the first time in my career," Chen said. "It is a lot of responsibility, but I think I am ready for the challenge.
"The Royals trusted in me when a lot of other teams didn't want to. I want to help put us in a position in September to have a good chance to go to the playoffs."
Eric Hosmer hit two homers and had four RBIs to pace the Royals. Yuniesky Betancourt, Mike Moustakas and Max Ramirez also homered for Kansas City.
Hosmer has four homers on the spring with 22 RBIs and is hitting .373.
Yost said Chen's effort was fantastic.
"He was able to work on different phases of his game. He has three or four different arm slots, but he hadn't incorporated his over-the-top fastball that runs 87-89 miles an hour. He was able to do that today."
Yost said of giving him the No. 1 spot in rotation, "Bruce can keep us in ballgames against No. 1 starters (opponents)."
"I wanted to throw from every single angle," Chen said. "The first couple of times (starts), the arm is not ready (to throw at the highest velocity). But I brought it out today. I didn't want to keep pitching the way I was pitching."
Unlike Yost, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke is not ready to pick a starter for opening day. It could be Gallardo or former Royals Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.
Gallardo pitched five innings, giving up four runs and six hits, including the homers to Betancourt and Hosmer.
"I felt good, although I lost my rhythm a little bit," Gallardo said. "My arm was falling behind, but the last two innings, I was able to adjust and be where I want to be. You look at things like that in a game like this, whether you were able to make adjustments."
Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez homered for the Brewers.
Notes: Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy signed a five-year contract extension before the game. He had two hits to raise his average to .486.