The Rockies went back over .500 for the spring with an 8-2 victory over the Royals on Monday that featured home runs from Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado and a brilliant pitching performance from Franklin Morales.
Tulowitzki tied the game, 1-1, with a towering homer to left field off of Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie in the second inning. Charlie Culberson followed with a two-run single to put the Rox ahead for good.
In the sixth, Arenado hammered a two-run homer for one of his two hits in the game to give the Rockies a 6-2 lead. Ryan Wheeler added insurance a couple of innings later with a solo blast.
Arenado and Tulowitzki have three homers apiece in Cactus League play while Wheeler's was his second.
Most of that offense was unnecessary as Morales used a dominant effort to perhaps go from rotation hopeful to rotation probable. The 28-year-old southpaw struck out seven in five innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. Morales now has 23 punch-outs against only six walks in 20⅓ innings this spring.
Speaking of strong springs, Tommy Kahnle struck out a pair in two scoreless innings to lower his Cactus League ERA to 0.93. In the event that Morales makes the rotation, it will open up a bullpen spot and a guy like Kahnle figures to be at the top of the list of potential arms to fill it. He's struck out nearly a batter per inning and has given up only four hits this spring.
The Rockies (13-12) will be back in action tomorrow against the White Sox in Glendale at 2:05 p.m. MT. Juan Nicasio will make what is presumably his final Cactus League start against Chris Sale, who is one of the better hurlers in the American League. Should be a good test for the Rockies offense and a chance for Nicasio to overcome his post-fourth-inning woes.
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