Starter James Paxton left the game in the second inning with another finger injury, this time a torn nail, and the Kansas City Royals tore up six Mariners relievers on the way to a 10-4 win (box score) Friday night at Kauffman Stadium, where a happy crowd celebrated the first Central Division championship in the club’s history. The Royals are the first in MLB to clinch a division title, and will be in the playoffs for the second year in a row after a 29-year drought.
In the sixth, Lorenzo Cain drove a liner to left, scoring two runs to give Kansas City a 5-3 lead that would continue to swell against a hapless bullpen.
Mark Trumbo had two hits and two RBIs. Logan Morrison’s lone hit was a homer to right field for the Mariners final run in the ninth. Kansas City generated 15 hits, with Mike Moustakas leading with a 3-for-3 night plus two walks and three RBIs.
Paxton gave up two runs before his injury. Rob Rasmussen, Logan Kensing and Joe Beimel surrendered one run apiece, with Kensing absorbing the loss. Royals starter Johnny Cueto, acquired in a midseason trade and 2-6 as a Royal, improved to 10-12 with the win, giving up three runs and two walks in seven innings’ work.
“I don’t know if it’s the same issue or not. All I know is it was bleeding, and he couldn’t throw any more. It’s hard to throw baseballs with blood flying all over the place. He pulled the nail off.” – Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on Paxton’s finger
Ketel Marte stretched his hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff bunt single . . . Seattle finished 2-5 against the Royals . . . Paxton missed most of the summer with an injury in his index finger.
The Mariners fly to Los Angeles for the final road series of the season with three games against the Angels. The Mariners’ Vidal Nuño (1-3, 3.64 ERA) will face Garrett Richards (14-11, 3.73 ERA) at 7 p.m. Friday.