Aoki highlights Royals' offense vs. old team
Right fielder drives in Kansas City's first two runs, but Milwaukee rallies
PHOENIX -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez hit the first pitch he had seen all year for a three-run double, and Royals right fielder Norichika Aoki delivered a two-run single in his first game against his former team before Milwaukee rallied late for a 7-6 win at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday.
Eleven of the Brewers' first 16 batters reached safely as Milwaukee built its lead to 5-0 in the second inning. But Aoki's hit in the third inning sparked a Kansas City comeback, and the Royals scored five consecutive runs to tie the game in the sixth on Christian Colon's two-run single.
The score remained 5-5 until the top of the ninth. Following two straight plays reviewed with baseball's new replay system, Brandon Laird drove in the go-ahead run with a one-out single. But Milwaukee loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, and Robinzon Diaz drove in the winner.
It was Milwaukee's most productive inning since the first, when the first six Brewers batters against Royals starter John Lamb went double, double, hit by pitch, double, double, walk as Milwaukee built a quick lead. Ramirez's sharp hit into the left-field corner cleared the bases and made it 3-0, and Mark Reynolds followed with a double of his own to score Ramirez.
The second inning was nearly as long, including Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's first request of the spring for replay review, and the delays unsettled Brewers starter Marco Estrada. He surrendered three Royals runs in the third and worked 3 1/3 innings in all, charged with three earned runs on seven hits.
"You know, it's good to see our guys swing the bats so well," Estrada said. "It's tough when you're just sitting there for -- I don't know how long it was. It's tough, but it's not the first time it's going to happen and it's not the last. It's a little tougher now because it's Spring Training and you're not used to it."
Estrada also had a hard time with plate umpire Allen Bailey's strike zone.
"There were pitches I thought I was hitting the glove, and nothing," Estrada said with a shrug. "You're going to get those umpires sometimes. It's Spring Training, so I'm going to work on stuff. You can't let that stuff get to you."
Up next: Left-hander Bruce Chen will make his third appearance in the Cactus League, this time facing the Rockies at 3:05 p.m. CT at Surprise Stadium on Gameday Audio. He has given up one earned run in five innings this spring. Lefty Danny Duffy, bidding for the fifth starting spot, will follow Chen. Also scheduled to throw are closer Greg Holland, Jon Rauch, Scott Alexander and Michael Mariot.