BY SPNW Staff 08:36PM 09/03/2013

Mariners Can’t Convert Again, Fall To Royals 4-3

The Mariners squandered another opportunity to win Tuesday night when they twice gagged with runners in scoring position and then watched Salvadore Perez beat them with an RBI single in the eighth in what became a 4-3 Kansas City victory at Kauffman Stadium. Seattle, which started the current eight-game road trip by winning the first three of four at Houston, has dropped three straight.

The Mariners, who placed two aboard with none out in the second and couldn’t push across a run, had a similar situation in the eighth when they had runners at second and third with one out.

After Kyle Seager opened the eighth with a fly out, Raul Ibanez reached on an infield single. Justin Smoak doubled to left, sending pinch runner Michael Saunders to third. But Luke Hochevar, taking over for Tim Collins, fanned Mike Zunino and got Endy Chavez to line out to center.

Perez delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth. After Mike Moustakas doubled with two outs, he singled to left, drilling a fastball that Yoervis Medina left in the middle of the plate.

Kansas City closer Greg Holland quickly disposed of the Mariners in the ninth, striking out Abraham Almonte and Nick Franklin and inducing a pop out by Brad Miller.

The Mariners (62-76) stranded seven, went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and are an astonishing 1-for-28 in that category over their past four contests.

The Mariners produced 10 hits to Kansas City’s nine, including Kyle Seager’s 22nd home run, Seattle’s first in five games, but couldn’t cash when it counted.

The Royals took a 3-0 lead on Alex Gordon’s solo homer in the first, a Perez solo shot in the fourth and an RBI single by Billy Butler in the fifth, but the Mariners retaliated with two runs in the sixth when Seager homered, scoring Franklin Gutierrez, who opened the inning with a single.

Seager’s home run snapped Seattle’s first four-game homer drought since June 6-9.

Seattle tied it in the seventh on a fielder’s choice by Miller, Abraham Almonte scoring after he had reached on a bunt single.

ARMS: Erasmo Ramirez (5-1) did not factor in the decision after allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. Ramirez, who surrendered two home runs, lowered his ERA to 5.07 . . . Seattle used two relievers, Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina, who wound up taking the loss (4-4).

BATS: Seager went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Ibanez also had two hits, as did Smoak, who lifted his average to .249. Seattle generated two extra-base hits.

QUOTES: “We’ve got some great young competitors here but we struggle in those type of situations. We’ve had opportunities, but we’re not taking advantage of them. When you talk about those young kids we have, they just need to continue to get better.” — Eric Wedge, Seattle manager, on his club coming up short with runners in scoring position.

“Erasmo was aggressive again early. His stuff was there from the first inning on. He pitched a good ball game for us” — Wedge, on Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez

NOTES: The Mariners announced five recalls/callups from AAA Tacoma Tuesday, including RHP Erasmo Ramirez, LHP James Paxton, RHP Chance Ruffin, RHP Hector Noesi and INF Carlos Triunfel. Also summoned to help the Mariners through September: Tacoma batting coach Howard Johnson . . . Paxton will make his major league debut Saturday against Tampa Bay. The Mariners will close the season with a six-man rotation . . . Felix Hernandez, who left Monday’s game with back cramps, is on track to make his next start Saturday.

NEXT: The third of four is Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium,  5:10 p.m. RHP Taijuan Walker (1-0, 0.00), who made his MLB debut and recorded his first win last week at Houston, will throw for the Mariners opposite RHP Ervin Santana (8-8, 3.34). The Mariners will begin a three-game series with Tampa Bay Friday at Safeco Field.


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