Another disappointing homestand came to a frustrating end as the Kansas City Royals hammered the Mariners 8-2 Wednesday night (box score) . A seven-run fourth inning took any drama out of this one, leaving Seattle with a 4-4 mark. The good news is that the Mariners have been better on the road (16-17) than they have at home (17-23) as Seattle prepares for an 11-day trip.
Mariners starter Roenis Elias was in a groove from the outset, retiring nine consecutive batters before a leadoff single in the fourth got the ball rolling for Kansas City. When 3B Mike Moustakas drilled a two-run homer off Elias on the next at-bat, it took whatever confidence Elias carried through the first three innings and hammered it into oblivion. Seattle’s 26-year-old southpaw fell apart after that, and the game was over by the time the Mariners picked up their bats for the bottom of the fourth.
Elias is making it hard for the Mariners to evaluate his long-term potential. He turned in his first bad outing in 10 starts this season on June 14, then bounced back with one of his better performances his last time out. He was dominant again through the first three innings of Wednesday’s start, but Kansas City rocked him for five hits and seven runs the second time through the order. Elias has failed to get out of the fourth inning in two of his past three starts.
OF Franklin Gutierrez made a triumphant return with a third-inning single and Seattle’s first RBI of the night on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but most of the Mariners’ offense came too late to matter. Seattle had nine hits, with CF Austin Jackson going 2 for 4 but an 0-for-5 performance with runners in scoring position continued a season-long trend for the Mariners. It also marked the 13th time in 23 games played this month that Seattle has been held to two runs or fewer.
“He was throwing a whale of a ball game and just fell apart in the fourth inning. We couldn’t get him back together.” – Manager Lloyd McClendon on Elias
OF Franklin Gutierrez was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before Wednesday’s game. He made his first start with the Mariners since Sept. 27, 2013, having taken the 2014 season off to deal with ongoing health problems . . . Nothing to do on a Mariners’ off day? RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make his second rehab stint Thursday at Tacoma . . .Royals CF Lorenzo Cain sat out Wednesday’s game with what manager Ned Yost called a “very slight” hamstring strain . . .Kansas City starter Danny Duffy was making his first start since May 16, having spent about a month on the disabled list with biceps tendonitis.
After an off-day Thursday, the Mariners open a three-game series at Anaheim Friday. RHP Taijuan Walker (5-6, 4.94 ERA for the season; 4-1, 2.04 ERA over his past five starts) is scheduled to start. RHP Matt Shoemaker (4-5, 5.20 ERA) is on tap for the Angels, marking the fourth game in a row that Seattle will face a starter with an ERA above 5.00.