Royals’ Ramirez sharp against White Sox

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)—Horacio Ramirez and Kyle Davies helped their bids to make the the Kansas City Royals’ rotation.

Ramirez became the first Royals pitcher to go five innings and Davies gave up just one hit in four scoreless innings as the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 9-3 Thursday.

Ramirez gave up three runs and six hits, including Josh Fields’ home run in the second. He retired nine batters on ground balls.

“I think almost every pitch I threw was down,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes when I was up in the zone, they swung through it. I got away with some pitches, but overall I was just down in the zone. I got in some tough counts, 2-0 and 3-1, but I was able to get the ball down and get ground balls. I don’t want to be in those counts, but to get in those counts I think the best thing is just think down.”

Ramirez stranded runners in scoring position in the second, third and fifth innings.

“I avoided the big inning,” Ramirez said. “I was aggressive. I was happy with the way everything went. Everything is moving in the right direction. Every time out there I think I’ve been getting better and better, doing good.”

Davies, who lowered his ERA to 0.71 in four outings, retired the final nine batters he faced.

“My first two innings, I don’t think I threw the ball that well,” Davies said. “I got a couple of bad swings and misses, but the location wasn’t very good. I was still very aggressive. I made the adjustment and it was lot quicker than I have in the past.

“That’s the growth process of pitching, knowing when that is happening. Even though you are putting up zeros and then make the adjustment. The last two innings were a whole lot better.”

White Sox starter Clayton Richard allowed five hits and two runs in 3 1-3 innings, while striking out two and walking three.

“He threw well,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He was out of gas a little bit at the end. He was over 50 pitches.”

White Sox reliever Franklyn German faced four batters in the fifth and all scored to take the loss. Mark Teahen’s three-run homer was the big blow of the inning. Chris Lubanski, who is hitting .500 in 11 games, stroked a three-run homer in the eighth off Kelvin Jimenez.

White Sox rookie second baseman Chris Getz doubled and walked.

“Getz is getting into a groove,” Guillen said.

Notes

White Sox RHPs Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras each threw 50 pitches in batting practice. Contreras, who ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon in August, is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Sunday against Seattle. Colon, who has bone chips removed from his elbow in the off-season, will make his first appearance Monday against Kansas City. … Royals RHP Oscar Villarrel, sore elbow, and Victor Marte, laxity in shoulder, have yet to pitch in a game. … Royals LHP John Bale has gained four pounds since March 3 thyroid surgery. He is throwing 60 feet from flat ground. … C Miguel Olivo and LHP Lenny DiNardo returned to the Kansas City camp after their clubs were eliminated in the World Baseball Classic.

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