Young, Wood continue tight battle for No. 5 spot

Yost says he sees no separation; Karns also in mix

Young, Wood continue tight battle for No. 5 spot

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals got nine innings from their starting pitching Saturday -- with two of the three prime contenders for the fifth-starter spot throwing in tandem in a 10-inning, 4-4 tie with the Indians. Left-hander Travis Wood got the start and went five innings, with righty Chris Young following for four.

Wood was efficient throughout, his stuff sharp as he spread five hits and a walk over his five frames while striking out four and throwing just 67 pitches (40 for strikes).

"I got some quick outs attacking the zone and making them swing the bat," Wood said. "If I can take that mindset and game plan into the season, I'll be happy with it."

Wood was effective with all his pitches, changing speeds and working both sides of the plate to keep the Indians off balance. His only miscues came with the bases empty and resulted in a pair of solo homers.

Wood K's Urshela

"The changeup at first started off a little flat and short, and then we got the arm extended on that and threw some good ones toward the end," Wood said. "Other than that, the other pitches I felt like were pretty crisp. I left a couple up and they did their job and hit it. They just happened to go out of the park."

Young was just as sharp in his four innings, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out three. He threw 74 pitches (44 for strikes) and might have been available for the 10th inning if the seventh hadn't been extended by an error resulting in two unearned runs.

"They didn't center him up all day," manager Ned Yost said of Young. "All four hits were off the end of the bat or jam shots. They didn't hit a ball hard off of him all day. Gave up the two unearned runs, but should have been out of the inning with nothing. He pitched very well, too."

Yost said he isn't seeing much separation in what is thought to be a three-way race to be the No. 5 starter among Wood, Young and Nathan Karns, who pitched four innings of three-run ball Friday.

"I'm looking at what's best for our team," Yost said of his approach to the competition, noting that if he did see separation, he wouldn't share it.

The fifth starter would join a rotation expected to include Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jason Vargas, and ace Danny Duffy, who was to start an elimination game for Team USA against the Dominican Republic in Saturday's World Baseball Classic second-round finale.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.