Royals snap losing streak with 4-1 win against Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) Ian Kennedy felt like he only had one pitch working for him against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. He was still able to take a shutout into the sixth inning, and get a big boost from his bullpen when he finally ran into trouble.
Kennedy had a three-run lead when he loaded the bases in the sixth inning on two singles and a walk. Reliever Danny Duffy came on to bail out the Royals, who went on to win 4-1 to end a five-game losing streak.
''Danny coming in with the bases loaded right there and coming at them with great stuff was huge right there,'' Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ''We had a three-run lead and it was starting to get away from us.''
Eric Hosmer homered, Lorenzo Cain had an RBI single and scored a run, and Alex Escobar had three hits and also scored for the Royals, who had been shut out in the first two games of this series.
Kennedy (3-2) said his curveball and other off-speed pitches weren't working against the Mariners, but he was still able to hold Seattle to four hits and struck out six in five-plus innings.
''At least I had a good fastball going,'' Kennedy said. ''Good location, good life on it. It was one of those days where I was trying to get by with the one good pitch I had.''
Kennedy loaded the bases in the sixth, Duffy struck out Dae-Ho Lee and Kyle Seager before Chris Iannetta hit a run-scoring single. However, Jarrod Dyson easily threw out Robinson Cano at home trying to score a second run.
''It was a big point in the game, would have been a big run with momentum and everything going in our favor, but they made a play,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
The Royals, who came in with seven straight road losses, extended their scoreless streak to 27 innings before ending the drought in the second. Alex Gordon started it when he was hit by a pitch. He advanced to third on a short hit by Salvador Perez, then scored on Omar Infante's single.
Kansas City added a run in the third on Cain's RBI single up the middle.
The Mariners' defense helped out the Royals in the fifth. With two outs and Cain on second base, Seattle shortstop Ketel Marte fielded Hosmer's grounder moving toward third. Marte's throw to first was wild, allowing Cain to score.
Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances.
Taijuan Walker (2-1) pitched five innings, his shortest outing this season, and allowed a season-high three runs and seven hits for Seattle. Walker had opened the season with four starts of at least six innings while allowing two or fewer runs, which tied a team record.
Hosmer capped the scoring with his fourth home run in the eighth.
''We knew we were going to have to find ways to scratch runs across the board, and we did a good job of that,'' Hosmer said. ''We had some things going on the bases today, we had some big hits.''
Nori Aoki, Seattle's usual leadoff hitter, was on the bench to start Sunday's game. Mariners manager Scott Servais wanted to give 2B Cano some rest by slotting him at DH. With both Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith, who have split time at DH this year, in the outfield, Aoki was left out. Servais said Aoki, who has struggled at the plate so far this season, would remain the team's usual leadoff hitter.
Aoki pinch-hit for 2B Luis Sardinas in the seventh inning and stayed in the game as the left fielder. Cano then moved from DH to 2B, taking the DH spot away for the Mariners.
Yost said reliever Luke Hochevar was not available for the game with soreness in his elbow. ''As a precaution, we wanted to give him the day and we'll see how he feels tomorrow,'' Yost said.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (3-1, 3.64 ERA) opens the series against the Nationals on Monday, facing off against LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 1.42 ERA).
Mariners: RHP Nate Karns (2-1, 3.63 ERA) goes in the series opener against Oakland on Monday. He will be opposed by RHP Kendall Graveman (1-2, 4.03).