Abreu hits first spring home run in tie with Royals
Hits go-ahead two-run shot in fifth; Alexei, Johnson each have three hits
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left fielder Alex Gordon, back in the Royals' lineup after missing a game with a bruised right shin, went 3-for-3 in a 6-6 tie with a White Sox split-squad on Thursday at Surprise Stadium.
"It was fine, it was good. It wasn't that bad -- just looked like a baseball on my shin," Gordon said. "But it went down pretty quickly, the trainers do a good job here."
The game was called after the White Sox rallied to tie the score in the ninth.
First baseman Jose Abreu, signed to a six-year, $68 million deal out of Cuba, belted a two-run homer in the fifth as the White Sox went ahead, 4-2, against veteran Brad Penny. Trying to restart his career after sitting out 2013, Penny gave up four runs on eight hits in his two innings.
The homer was the first for Abreu, who is 2-for-10 in the early going. The right-handed hitter lined the opposite-field homer into the right-field bullpen.
"I hit them all over the field. I hit the ball to all parts of the field," Abreu said. "Today, it was just an outside pitch and I was able to put it that way. But the important thing is I get them."
Getting his first homer out of the way didn't take any special weight off Abreu.
"The toughest game of Spring Training was my first game. It will be the same tomorrow and the same the rest of spring," he said. "I don't get too stressed or too uptight. I'm doing my work."
Royals starter Jason Vargas extended his string of scoreless innings to five with three more against the White Sox, despite giving up five singles. Alexei Ramirez had two of those hits, including a bunt single.
"We made some good defensive plays. I was able to work out of some guys getting on base. I was able to get some pitches down in the strike zone and pitches to get out of innings," Vargas said.
The Royals picked up single runs in the second and third against White Sox starter Chris Beck. Reliever Charlie Leesman escaped a no-out bases-loaded threat in the fourth. He retired Norichika Aoki on a sharp infield line drive and then got two flyouts.
Up next: The best news for Felipe Paulino after his first Cactus League start was that he felt nothing more than normal soreness the day after. The thing Paulino will work on Friday in Goodyear is putting hitters away after jumping ahead in the count, which he could not do Sunday against the Rangers, but hopes to do against the Reds in a 2:05 p.m. CT first pitch, live via Gameday Audio. New acquisition Maikel Cleto is also scheduled to pitch.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.