SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — James Shields is already in opening day form.
Shields, who will start Kansas City's season opener on March 31 at Detroit, allowed one infield single and struck out 10 in six scoreless innings, as the Royals lost to a Chicago Cubs split squad 6-5 on Saturday.
The Cubs' Brett Jackson drove in five runs with a three-run homer in the eighth off Jon Rauch and a two-run go-ahead single in the ninth off Tim Collins.
Christian Villanueva was the only Cubs batter to reach base off Shields when second baseman Johnny Giavotella slipped going for his grounder and his throw from his knees to first was a tad late.
"I was giving Gio a little hard time there in that last inning," Shields joked. "I said, 'If I don't give up a hit, it's all your fault.'"
Shields is 2-0 with a 0.61 ERA, allowing one run and seven hits, striking out 18 and walking none in 14 2-3 innings, in four exhibition starts.
"I felt really good out there," Shields said. "Obviously, the stamina part is not quite there yet. But that's just normal spring training stuff. Everything else is good."
Jeff Samardzija, who will start the Cubs' opener, was not nearly as sharp as Shields, allowing four runs on seven hits, and three walks in 3 2-3 innings. He gave up home runs to Jarrod Dyson on his third pitch and to Giavotella.
"The ball was up in the zone," Samardzija said. "When they're putting good wood on it, it's usually because it's up in the zone. My arm felt good and I got my pitch count up.
"You also take it with a grain of salt and understand why you're out there and what you're striving for, which is two weeks out."
Cubs: Samardzija, who departed after 87 pitches, escaped further damage in the second. After Giavotella's two-run homer, the Royals loaded the bases on singles by Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler singles and a walk to Salvador Perez, but Samardzija got out of the jam by retiring Mike Moustakas on a fly to center.
"There are those moments in the games when you're in those spots and you hunker down and make a good pitch," Samardzija said. "I thought we did that today."