March 19, 2016

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle right-hander Taijuan Walker pitched five strong innings Saturday after getting roughed up in his previous start, but the Mariners lost 5-4 to the Kansas City Royals in a split-squad game.

Walker, who gave up four runs on seven hits in 3 1-3 innings Monday, limited the Royals to one run on four hits, while striking out four and walking none. Jorge Bonifacio homered leading off the third for the only run off Walker.

''I think it's huge to bounce back from my last start,'' Walker said. ''The plan was to pound the zone, me and (catcher Rob) Brantley were doing that really well. They weren't really doing too much with the fastball besides that one pitch.''

Right-hander Joakim Soria, a free agent the Royals signed to a three-year contract in December, worked two innings for the first time. He allowed one hit and struck out three, bringing his total to nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings.

''It was a pretty easy outing for him,'' Royals bench coach and acting manager Don Wakamatsu said. ''Dave (Eiland, pitching coach) said let him throw two if he feels good. Soria had 11 pitches (in his first inning) and said, `Yeah, let me go out and get another one.'''

Minor leaguer Logan Moon, who went to Blue Springs South High in the Kansas City suburbs, hit a two-run double off Joe Wieland in the Royals' four-run eighth.

The Mariners' three-run first included a Jesus Montero double to score Dae-Ho Lee. Kyle Seager contributed two hits and drove in a run.

STARTING TIME

Mariners: Walker threw 57 pitches in his five innings. ''That's what you want,'' he said. ''That's how you go nine innings.'' He is adding a curveball to his repertoire. ''I'm working on throwing it for strikes, getting them off the fastball and changeup,'' Walker said. ''Eventually, hopefully it will be a put away pitch.''

Royals: LHP Matt Strahm, who has never pitched above Single A-ball, threw 28 of his 54 pitches in the first, when he gave up three hits, walked one and hit leadoff batter Nori Aoki. Strahm retired eight of the final batters he faced, giving up four hits and striking out three in three innings. ''I thought he came out and was a little bit out of rhythm, but settled down,'' Wakamatsu said. ''I thought his tempo was better the second inning. He kind of loosened up. I thought he made some adjustments.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RF Seth Smith (groin tightness) returned to the lineup after missing three games and went 2 for 3 with a run-producing single and reached on an error. . IF Stefen Romero (intercostal muscle strain) has not played since Wednesday but is hopeful to return Sunday. . LHP Charlie Furbush (biceps and shoulder tightness) had another long toss session. He could throw a bullpen session early next week, but it is questionable whether he will be ready for opening day.

Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (arm fatigue) threw a 50-pitch side session and will throw in a minor league game next.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP Wade Miley will make his third start Sunday against the Indians.

Royals: RHPs Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar, who have combined for nine scoreless innings while allowing five hits and striking out eight, are each scheduled to pitch an inning Sunday against the Cubs.

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