By BOB BAUM
(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., AP) — Kansas City ace James Shields allowed one hit in three scoreless innings and Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer in the Royals’ 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
A.J. Pollock’s leadoff single in the third was the only hit Shields has allowed in four innings this spring. Shields struck out three with no walks.
Patrick Corbin, set to be Arizona’s opening-day starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sydney, Australia, on March 22, gave up two runs on four hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Moustakas’ deep shot to right off lefty Joe Paterson was his third homer of the spring. He had four RBIs in the game, giving him 10, most of any player in spring training.
“He’s really feeling good. I’m happy,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of his third baseman’s strong start. “It’s spring training, all right, but it’s got to start somewhere and the work that he’s done all winter long, it’s paying off and it’s showing.”
Moustakas is hitting .467 this spring. After hitting .296 with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs in his first full major league season in 2012, he hit .233 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs last year.
“Obviously I didn’t have the greatest season last year,” Moustakas said, “and I had to go work on some stuff. I felt like I’ve got a better two-strike approach and an overall approach in general.”
Royals: Shields got his first extended action after throwing just 10 pitches in his first spring start.
“When you’re real young you come in here trying to fire the ball a little bit,” the 32-year-old right-hander said. “But I’ve eased my way into spring training every single year. We try to be real methodical and obviously it’s how your body feels. You’ve got to listen to your body as a pitcher. But right now we’ve just eased our way in and today was good.”
Diamondbacks: Corbin will have two more starts before Arizona leaves for Sydney. Manager Kirk Gibson said the left-hander will probably throw 45 pitches or so in his next start, then toward 100 in his final outing before the team leaves a week from Sunday.
Corbin said he worked on his changeup in the game and added that it was good for him to have to pitch out of a jam.
“It’s going to happen during the season. You’re going to throw a lot of pitches during an inning,” he said. “Obviously you want to minimize that but it was good to get out there and build up the pitches and have a couple of tough innings. Hopefully next time I’ll get out of those innings.”
Shields is in the final year of his contract and there have been no talks with the Royals about a new deal.
If he becomes a free agent at the end of the season, he would be among the most attractive pitchers available and likely would command a triple-digit contract.
Shields said he doesn’t want to talk about his contract once the regular season begins.
“I’ve said before I like it here,” he said. “I like the city and I like the team and like where this organization is going. Obviously if they want to do something then I’m up for listening. But right now I’m just really focused on what I’m doing here in spring training and getting ready.”
Royals: Kansas City has shut down right-hander Luke Hochevar for at least the next three weeks after he sprained his right elbow Monday in his next-to-last pitch against the Chicago White Sox. Hochevar, who was vying for a spot in the rotation, doesn’t expect to be throwing in games before the end of May.
Diamondbacks: Arizona’s Bronson Arroyo was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres on Tuesday with a sore back. Gibson said he didn’t know the extent of the problem or when Arroyo would be back on the mound. The 37-year-old right-hander never has been on the disabled list in his pro career. He signed a two-year, $23.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks a month ago.