It’s true that Kansas City’s current starting pitching is woeful, so bad that the Royals Tuesday cut Jonathan Sanchez, the Monday starter, after a 9-4 loss to Seattle.
Still, scoring nine runs in a major league game requires making much contact with the pitched ball. The Mariners in Kansas City are doing it in heaps, piles and bundles.
Beginning Tuesday as the American League leaders in road runs scored (229), the Mariners put up six runs in the first two innings, added three more in the fifth and cruised behind the return of starter Blake Beavan in a 9-6 triumph, which began in 98-degree heat.
The win was clouded when relief pitcher Charlie Furbush left the game in seventh inning after throwing just two pitches, motioning that the back of his pitching shoulder was troubling him. The first report described the problem as left triceps tightness. He will be examined Wednesday.
On his final pitch, Furbush gave up a run-scoring single that was part of a three-run inning that took Beavan and three relievers to complete. Shawn Kelley gave up a two-run homer Lorenzo Cain that cut the the Mariners lead to 9-6. But Lucas Luetge came in to get the final two outs of the seventh, as well as a 1-2-3 eighth. Tom Wilhelmsen came on to get his eighth save.
As was the case Monday when they scored seven in the first two innings, the Mariners jumped on the Royals early, scoring three runs in the first on a single by Casper Wells, a double by Jesus Montero and a home run by Justin Smoak, his second in two nights.
The second inning was equally as productive. Dustin Ackley and Ichiro singled, and after two outs, Montero drove in a run with a single. After Smoak walked, Kyle Seager’s double scored two more and chased rookie starter Ryan Verdugo, a native of suburban Seattle (Lake Stevens High) making his major league debut against his hometown team.
Beavan, in his first start since a month-long stint at AAA Tacoma, had just a single bad inning, the third, when he gave up consecutive triples to Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon. Singles by Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler cut Seattle’s lead to 6-3. Beavan then retired the next 10 batters. He gave up five runs and seven hits in six-plus innings.
The Royals’ three were regained in the fifth when Michael Saunders hit a two-run homer, followed by a triple from Ackley, driving in Brendan Ryan, who walked.
Montero had three hits, and Ackley, Smoak and Saunder had two. The Mariners entered the game averaging 4.87 runs per road game, third in the AL, and 3.90 at home, the league’s worst. The Mariners have 25 hits and five home runs in the first two games in KC. Entering the game, the Mariners since May 18 lead the majors averaging 6.23 runs per game on the road.