With a longer spring slate this year due to the added element of the World Baseball Classic, the Royals have taken a gradual approach with Davis and fellow starters James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. Davis is the first of that foursome to take the mound in a Cactus League contest.
The Royals (4-0-1) struck for one run in the first inning against Indians reliever Matt Albers, who logged one inning as a starter on what Francona described as a "bullpen day." Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer drew a one-out walk, and later crossed home plate on an RBI single off the bat of designated hitter Billy Butler.
In the top of the third inning, Hosmer got things rolling again. Jarrod Dyson reached via walk against Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw -- a candidate for the Opening Day bullpen -- and then stole second base. Hosmer later tripled to center field, scoring Dyson to push Kansas City to a 2-0 lead.
Butler launched his first home run of the spring in the fifth inning. Facing Indians Minor League left-hander Giovanni Soto, Butler belted a pitch deep to left for a two-run blast that put the Indians (5-1) in a 4-0 hole.
"I missed a couple pitches earlier over-swinging on that at-bat," Butler said. "Then I calmed down and took a normal two-strike swing."
Royals pitching prospect Yordan Ventura, who started for the World team in last summer's All-Star Futures Game, turned in two shutout innings behind Davis. Ventura allowed one hit, struck out two and ended with no walks.
Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez turned in a clean second inning against Kansas City. The Indians didn't get on the board until Matt Carson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Up next for Royals: The battle for the fifth starting job in the rotation accelerates in a 2:05 p.m. CT game on Wednesday against the Brewers at Surprise Stadium. Contestants Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen are scheduled to be the first two pitchers, and each is expected to work two innings. Luis Mendoza, who also wants the job, worked four solid innings on Sunday. Some of the Royals' top relievers, Tim Collins, Kelvin Herrera and Louis Coleman, also are scheduled to face the Brewers. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who missed the first five games with a strained hand, is likely to play, as is left fielder Alex Gordon, out the last two games with a stiff back.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.