SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -Kansas City Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar threw one pitch he is going to have to answer for in a 5-5 tie with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
The game was called after nine innings. It was the Royals' third tie this spring.
The pitch in question was a foul ball off the bat of Alfonso Soriano that landed near his pregnant wife Ashley.
``Soon as I got in I texted her to make sure she didn't get hit,' Hochevar said. ``I was looking up there to make sure she didn't get smoked. Everything is good.'
Soriano fouled off a fastball away.
``I'll probably get cussed out for it. She is behind the screen, so she's got to fend for herself,' Hochevar joked.
Hochevar, who has a 1.64 ERA after three starts, allowed one run and five hits, walked none and struck out three in five innings.
``I feel like my stuff is sharp right now and I feel like I'm commanding the baseball a lot better especially with the mechanical adjustment I made,' Hochevar said. ``Everything feels good coming out of my hand. I have a lot of confidence in my changeup. That's come a long way. That's a pitch I want to go to and can go to now.'
Ryan Dempster gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, the longest outing by a Cubs starter, while striking out six and walking three. He threw 93 pitches.
``My stuff was real good,' Dempster said. ``I had all my pitches working, tried to go right after them. It was good to extend it like that, into the sixth inning. I haven't done that in a long, long time. So it was a real good day.'
``It didn't feel like a lot (of pitches), but I think it's important to do that, build that arm. We're not that far away. There are only two more starts before the season starts. I enjoyed that. It's good to kind of pitch in every situation and work through some stuff.'
He left with a 3-1 lead, but reliever Carlos Marmol gave up a two-run homer to Brayan Pena in the sixth.
Aramis Ramirez, who had not played since March 13 because of a right triceps injury, returned as the Cubs designated hitter and went 2 for 3 with a RBI. Ramirez is hoping to play third base by Friday.
``Soon as I can,' he said. ``I don't want to waste anymore time. We're only a couple weeks away. As soon as I'm ready to try it the first time, I'm going to be playing third base.'
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said if this was a regular-season game Ramirez could have played third.
``Probably,' Ramirez said. ``Right now, I don't want to take a chance, but I'll be ready. I don't need 30 more at_bats. I need five more and I'll be ready to go.'
Andres Blanco's RBI single in the ninth gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead.
The Royals tied it in the bottom of the inning when Alberto Callaspo's single scored Chris Getz, who led off the ninth with a single. Callaspo, who is hitting .475, also tripled and scored on Billy Butler's sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Soriano went 0 for 3 to snap his seven-game hitting streak.
The Associated Press News Service
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