Nicasio helps Rockies beat Royals 10-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm •  Published: March 9, 2014
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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Juan Nicasio thinks he's headed for the best season of his young career.

Nicasio pitched four scoreless innings, Kyle Parker drove in five runs and the Colorado Rockies beat the Kansas City Royals 10-1 on Sunday.

Nicasio allowed one hit, struck out three and walked one.

The 6-foot-3 right-hander has struggled with injuries since he made his major league debut for Colorado in 2011. He broke his neck later that summer when he was struck by a line drive, and a left knee injury ended his 2012 season after 11 starts.

He went 9-9 with a 5.14 ERA in 31 starts last year, and thinks he can better those numbers this season.

"For sure," Nicasio said. "My body is feeling stronger. Now I have more experience. In 2011 and 2012 I was not pitching too much. I was hurting in my neck and my knee. Last year I played all year. I'm feeling more confident now."

In two Cactus League starts, Nicasio has seven scoreless innings, striking out seven and allowing three hits.

"I was working my fastball down in the zone and my slider was really good," Nicasio said.

Parker, a former Clemson quarterback who was selected by the Rockies in the first round of the 2010 draft, hit a two-run double in the seventh off Royals closer Greg Holland. He added a bases-clearing double in the Rockies' four-run ninth.

The Rockies' 14-hit attack included a two-run single for Wilin Rosario in the first. Paul Janish went 3 for 3 and Corey Dickerson homered in the sixth.

The Royals have lost three straight and are 0-3-1 in their past four games.

STARTING TIME

Rockies: Omar Infante's first-inning single was the only hit for Kansas City against Nicasio.

"He's throwing his slider close enough to the zone that he's getting swings and chases," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Last year, particularly early on, that pitch was a ball out of his hands. Now he's commanding his secondary stuff. He threw some splits today. We're going to encourage him to keep throwing that. His secondary stuff overall is much better than it was."