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Shields throws three scoreless vs. D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- James Shields cranked it up to three innings for the Royals, and it was three shutout innings in an 8-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Shields gave up three hits as he upped his workout from one inning in his first start. He threw 38 pitches, including 24 strikes.

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"Obviously, the results are good, but I felt I was a little inconsistent at times. But I guess that's what Spring Training is all about," Shields said. "But it's nice to ramp a little bit in the pitch count. It felt real good, though."

Shields got credit for the victory, the unbeaten Royals' 11th straight.

"It's important to a certain extent. Winning is contagious and it makes you feel good as a player and it makes you feel good as a team to know you're playing some good baseball," Shields said. "But we're here to get ready and the thing of it is, we're playing all our Spring Training guys, it's not just our main lineup, so it seems like we've got a pretty good group of guys so far this spring and it's been fun."

During his days with Tampa Bay, Shields saw no direct correlation between Spring Training records and the real season.

"There's been some Spring Trainings when we were dead last and ended up making the playoffs and I think there's been Spring Trainings where we led the Grapefruit League in record and we ended up going to playoffs as well," he said. "We really don't put that much emphasis on Spring Training [records]. Obviously it's great to win, winning is contagious, but right now our main focus is to get ready for the season. That's when the wins really count."

Left-hander Will Smith, who followed Shields, had another good outing -- two scoreless innings with no hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

"Well, today my fastball command wasn't the best and I let my defense work for me today. We got a double play and it worked out," Smith said.

Smith is trying to win a job as the fifth starter or a long reliever.

"You always want to pitch well, whether you have a spot or don't have a spot, so my attitude is just to come in here every day and work hard and whatever happens, happens," Smith said.

His ERA is 1.29 in three games with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

"So far," he conceded with a smile, "it's been in my favor."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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