Hochevar, Chen struggle against the Angels

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The battle between Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen for the Royals' No. 5 starting job was a standoff on Sunday. They both got banged around in a 17-11 win over the Angels.

Hochevar started and gave up five hits and four runs -- on a pair of two-run homers -- in 3 1/3 innings. Chen took over and gave up five hits and five runs, one on a homer, in 3 2/3 innings. Each pitcher walked two. Hochevar struck out three, and Chen struck out four.

"Nobody took a step forward today. It was kind of neutral," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I just walked in after that game, thinking the positive is we pitched good enough to win. When you score 17 runs, you better."

Hochevar threw 68 pitches, including 42 strikes. Chen's count was 67-40.

Despite the statistical upheaval, Hochevar saw some positive signs in his performance.

"I thought my changeup has come a long way," Hochevar said. "I threw it quite a few times today, and got some swings and misses out of it and some really soft contact. I feel like my fastball command is coming along better and better every time, and my arm strength is coming along as well. And I feel like my breaking ball is right on track."

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