Yuni's homer backs Royals pitchers vs. Rox

Yuni's homer backs Royals pitchers vs. Rox

Yuni's homer backs Royals pitchers vs. Rox
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yuniesky Betancourt's fourth-inning leadoff home run began a four-run inning that lifted the Royals to a 5-0 victory over the Rockies on Thursday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Betancourt's homer was one of five hits in the fourth against Rockies left-hander Josh Outman. Clint Robinson and Mitch Maier added singles, and Billy Butler and Lorenzo Cain doubled.

Rockies left-handed starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz threw three scoreless innings to run his total to five scoreless this spring. Pomeranz struck out three and gave up two hits and a walk. Pomeranz also picked one runner off base, and catcher Ramon Hernandez helped Pomeranz with another pickoff throw.

"I didn't feel as sharp today [as in his initial outing, two scoreless innings against the D-backs]," Pomeranz said. "I was a little more consistent that first outing."

Starter Felipe Paulino was among seven Royals pitchers to contribute to the shutout. Paulino allowed three hits in two innings with one strikeout and zero walks. Aaron Crow followed suit with two scoreless frames and two strikeouts.

Paulino, whose training was slowed by a mild hamstring strain, was making his first start.

"I was really excited getting back to the mound again after four months," Paulino said. "There were a few things I working on with my pitches today and I was feeling confident. It was a good step today."

Max Ramirez belted his third homer of the spring for the Royals to cap the scoring.

Up next for the Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy, trying to return to the starting rotation, makes his first Cactus League start against the Cincinnati Reds at 2:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Goodyear, Ariz. This ends the first go-round of the six-man rotation that the Royals are using in the early stages of Spring Training. Eric Hosmer, who had Thursday off, will be the designated hitter with Clinton Robinson manning first base. The starting outfield of Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur is scheduled to play.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.