SURPRISE, Ariz. — Ervin Santana had his fastball of old.
The 30-year-old right-hander struck out seven in four innings, including six of eight in one stretch, helped the
Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Wednesday to improve their spring training record to 14-2.
“You remember what happened in 2008?” Santana said, a reference to a season in which he fanned 214.
Santana allowed two hits and walked none, throwing 35 of 53 pitches for strikeouts. He allowed his only run on Carlos Truinfel’s third-inning homer.
“The good thing I was keeping the ball down and working on my offspeed, which was pretty good today,” Santana said. “I threw a lot of sliders. The strikeouts were mixed, a couple of sliders, a couple of changeups, a few fastballs.”
After going 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA in 30 starts last year, Santana was acquired by the Royals from the Los Angeles Angels in October for left-hander Brandon Sisk.
“I’m very pleased with his outing, again on the attack, good fastball, got it up to 94, a really good slider, got a changeup to the second baseman and he ended up putting a nice swing on it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “A nice job. It was encouraging.”
Hisashi Iwakuma retired the first nine Royals, eight on groundouts, before allowing four singles in the fourth — including the run-scoring hits by Billy Butler and Salvador Perez.
“He struck me out on three fastballs in the first at-bat,” the Royals’ Mike Moustakas said. “It looked like he got a little sneaky. He was throwing a slider, cutter and mixing his pitches well.”
Elliot Johnson tripled leading off the sixth and scored on Xavier Nady’s single for a 3-2 lead.
Seattle has lost four straight and six of seven following a 10-game winning streak.
Left-hander Danny Hultzen, selected by Seattle with the second pick of the 2011 amateur draft, pitched for the first time since Feb. 27 after recovering from a strained hip flexor. He gave up a double to Lorenzo Cain leading off the fifth, then retired three in a row.
“It felt good to be back out there,” Hultzen said. “I’m past it. Hopefully, it doesn’t come back. I’ll keep doing some preventive work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Cain hit a hanging curveball.
“An 0-2 curveball that can’t happen ever,” Hultzen said. “I learned my lesson. That kind of hung up and he crushed it. I knew where it was supposed to go, but I just didn’t do it that time. I threw a couple of good ones after that, but that one he hammered.”
NOTES: RHP Luke Hochevar, the first player picked in the 2006 amateur draft and the Royals’ 2011 opening-day starter, has been sent to the bullpen, failing in his attempt to earn the final rotation slot. Hochevar had a 6.75 ERA in three appearances, allowing six runs, nine hits, two homers and two walks in eight innings. LHP Bruce Chen and RHP Luis Mendoza remain the leading candidates to be the No. 5 starter, but Yost said LHP Will Smith and rookie RHP Yordano Ventura are possibilities. … Nady has plantar fasciitis, a foot inflammation, and was removed for a pinch runner in the sixth. … The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on RHP Guillermo Moscoso, claimed off waivers Nov. 2 from Colorado. He went 3-2 with a 6.13 ERA last season with the Rockies and was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three spring training appearances. Moscoso had a contract paying him $504,250 in the majors and $181,900 in the minors. He gets 30 days’ termination pay at the lower rate, or $29,820.