SURPRISE, Ariz. — Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez each homered off Johnny Cueto and drove in three runs, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5 Tuesday.
Hosmer hit a three-run homer as the Royals batted around in a five-run third that included consecutive triples by Billy Butler and Alex Gordon.
“You’ve got to love Arizona,” Hosmer said. “That’s about 30 percent my power and 70 percent Arizona. I got a good piece of it, but Arizona might have helped it out a little bit. You want to work good at-bats and as a team I think we did that today, so it was productive.”
Perez went 3 for 3, with a home run in the second, RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers as the Reds batted in a four-run first off left-hander Danny Duffy. The Royals committed two errors in the inning, and Duffy had a wild pitch and hit a batter.
STARTING TIME — Reds: Cueto, who won 19 games in 2012 but was restricted to 11 starts last year after three stints on the disabled list with a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle, threw eight pitches in a flawless first. He struck out four of his first nine batters, then allowing four consecutive extra-base hits with two out in the third inning. He allowed six runs and threw 58 pitches in 2 2-3 innings.
“The first two innings were more like the Johnny we’re used to seeing,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He did a lot of things we like to see. We would have liked to have had a better result in the third.”
Royals: Duffy, trying to earn a rotation slot, threw 31 pitches in the first but only nine in a perfect second. He also took a Chris Heisey line drive off his right shin that caromed to Hosmer at first.
“I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, trying to make this team,” Duffy said. “With the numbers I put up today, it’s never good. But 95 percent of the time, if I throw the way I did today I’m going to put up zeroes.”
CHALLENGE COORDINATORS — Bill Duplissea and Cody Clark will be the Royals’ replay coordinators. Duplissea has been the Royals bullpen catcher the past eight years. Clark, 32, was a catcher in the Royals’ farm system from 2007-12. He made his major league debut last season with Houston, striking out 15 times in 38 at-bats with only four hits. The game Wednesday against the Diamondbacks will be the first of five Royals’ spring training games where the replay challenge will be tested.
TRAINER’S ROOM — Royals: Second baseman Omar Infante, who has missed five games with a sore right shoulder, will likely be a designated hitter Wednesday. Right-hander Louis Coleman, who has yet to pitch because of a bruised right finger, threw batting practice with no problems.
ESCOBAR RETURNS — Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, who has been on a paternity leave and has yet to play this season, is back.
“We’ll give him a day or two to get his feet back on the ground and get going,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.