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Chris Taylor hits grand slam in Clayton Kershaw’s spring debut as Dodgers beat Royals

The Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a grand slam in a spring training game against Kansas City on March 5, 2021.
The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor connects for a grand slam in the fifth inning of a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Ariz.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

The Dodgers defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-5 in a spring-training game Friday.

ON THE MOUND: Clayton Kershaw gave up doubles to Whit Merrifield and Michael Taylor and struck out two in two scoreless innings of his first spring start. The left-hander threw 22 pitches, 17 for strikes, and threw another 15 or so pitches in the bullpen after his outing. Kershaw’s fastball was clocked at 89-90 mph, and he threw a nice back-foot slider to strike out Salvador Perez in the second. Left-hander Mike Kickham gave up three runs and three hits, including a two-run homer to Taylor, in 2-2/3 innings. Left-hander Alex Vesia gave up a hit and struck out one in 1-1/3 innings. Prospect Andre Jackson struck out two in a scoreless seventh.

AT THE PLATE: Chris Taylor, making his second start after being slowed early in camp by neck stiffness, doubled to left-center field and scored in the second and crushed a 444-foot grand slam to left-center in the fifth. The left-handed-hitting Max Muncy and Matt Beaty both beat infield shifts with ground-ball singles to the left side. “It just goes back to being a good hitter, a well-rounded hitter, and keeping defenses honest,” manager Dave Roberts said when asked whether he’d like his hitters to experiment more with beating shifts. “Our hitting guys talk about it all the time, and it’s great to get our players to buy in.” Third base prospect Kody Hoese hit a solo homer in the eighth.

As of today, only the Giants among California’s five MLB teams can admit more than 100 fans, but Dodgers and Angels are close to falling out of the purple tier.

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EXTRA BASES: Kenley Jansen’s second spring outing was pushed back a few days after the closer felt out of sync with his delivery during a live batting-practice session in which he hit Zach Reks with a pitch on the right elbow Thursday. Roberts said Jansen, who did some dry work off a mound Saturday, will pitch Sunday or Monday. … Reliever Brusdar Graterol is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time this spring “in the next day or two,” Roberts said. The hard-throwing right-hander was unable to pitch consistently over the winter in Venezuela, “so the ramp-up has been a little different for him,” Roberts said.

UP NEXT: Trevor Bauer is scheduled to throw three innings in his second spring start Saturday against National League West rival San Diego at noon at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix. Right-hander Chris Paddack is scheduled to start for the Padres. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: AM 1020.


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