SURPRISE, Ariz. | The prevailing view all spring is Horacio Ramirez had to pitch his way out of the Royals’ rotation. Such is the club’s heavy preference for breaking camp with a lefty in the rotation.
So how do you judge this?
Ramirez allowed nine runs in just two innings on breezy Sunday afternoon in an 18-12 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Surprise Stadium. He gave up 10 hits, including three homers.
Then consider the two teams combined for 15 homers, including eight by the Angels, in blustery conditions with winds ranging from 26-36 mph. Straight out, too.
Ramirez wasn’t helped by some soft infield defense or the stiff wind, but make no mistake: He was hit hard.
But so was just about everyone else.
“For me, I’ve got to get the ball down,” Ramirez said. “A couple of those homers might have been wind-blown but, for the most part, I just made bad pitches.”
Angels ace John Lackey wasn’t a lot better in yielding seven runs, including four homers, in four-plus innings. He exited without getting an out in a five-run fifth that included a two-run homer by Alberto Callaspo and a three-run bomb by Mike Jacobs.
Olivo hit two homers for the Royals, who lead all teams this spring with 41 homers.
The loss dropped the Royals to 13-8-3.
The Angels, 17-4-1, parlayed six hits, including two on some soft defense, into a six-run first inning. Juan Rivera had a two-run single through shortstop Mike Aviles, but Ramirez also yielded a two-run homer to Robb Quinlan.
LA sent 10 hitters to the plate.
The Angels added three more runs in the second, when Rivera and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back homers.
The Royals trailed 9-0 before their offense stirred to life. Ryan Shealy and Miguel Olivo hit bases-empty homers in the second and fourth before Callapso and Jacobs connected in the fifth.
Coco Crisp closed the gap to 10-8 with a homer in the sixth before the Angels got homers from Matt Brown and Ryan Budde in a four-run seventh against Robinson Tejeda.
Tony Peña’s three-run homer made it 14-12 in the eighth, but Brandon Wood answered with a three-run homer in a four-run ninth against Victor Marte.