Colon, Gordon, O'Hearn shine in slugfest

Colon, Gordon, O'Hearn shine in slugfest

PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun and Manny Pina both hit their first spring home runs for the Brewers, and Christian Colon went deep for the Royals as the teams combined for eight runs in the first inning and a half Friday at Maryvale Baseball Park, where the Royals emerged 8-5 victors.

Alex Gordon had a pair of run-scoring hits for the Royals, including a single in Kansas City's go-ahead fourth inning, while the aptly named Ryan O'Hearn and Peter O'Brien combined for three hits, three runs scored and three RBIs on St. Patrick's Day.

Both teams wore bright green caps for the occasion, which will be auctioned at MLB.com.

The Royals jumped to a 3-0 lead with a quartet of well-placed doubles against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson in the top of the first inning before Braun and the Brewers answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame against Nathan Karns, starting with Braun's two-run homer.

Royals nab Wren at second

"Tip your cap to Braun," Karns said. "He sat on a first pitch curveball, just got it out enough."

The Royals knotted the game again in the second with Colon's leadoff homer, and took the lead in the fourth with a rally against Nelson and lefty reliever Andy Oliver that began with back-to-back infield hits. Nelson was charged with five earned runs on six hits in three-plus innings, with one walk and six strikeouts in an outing that began with a bloop double by Humberto Arteaga and a double that caromed off first base by Gordon. Another double later in the inning got lost in the Arizona sun and went over Braun's head

"Apparently I'm not Irish," Nelson joked.

Nelson strikes out Moss

He was pleased, though, with the action on his offspeed pitches.

"They squared up a couple of balls, for sure, but overall I felt really good about my offspeed, especially," Nelson said. "[Catcher Jett Bandy] did a good job of mixing in a good mix of all my offspeed, even in hitters' counts."

Another Brewers starter, Wily Peralta, pitched later in the game in his first appearance since a first-round stint with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. He surrendered two runs (one earned) in five innings.

O'Hearn's RBI double

Karns worked four innings and was charged with four runs (three earned) on seven hits. He walked two and struck out four. 

"Today was a little warm, but it was nice to get out there and work through that," Karns said. "Seventy-five [pitches], and I still felt like I had energy to go. That's a positive I take out of it. I worked ahead, but I think my finishing pitches I left out over the plate at times, and they were able to put it in play." 

Pina's solo homer

Royals Up Next: The Royals host the American League champion Indians on Saturday for a 3:05 p.m. CT game live on MLB.TV. Travis Wood gets the start, with Chris Young slated to follow as they compete for the fifth starter spot. Wood is 2-0 with a 4.32 ERA and Young is 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA, both in three spring appearances.

Brewers Up Next: Junior Guerra, who remains a candidate to start on Opening Day, is set to make his fifth Cactus League start when the Brewers host a Cubs split-squad Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park. The 3:05 p.m. CT game will be live on MLB.TV.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.