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.
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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.