Cruising with a four-hit shutout through seven innings, James Paxton gave up two runs in the eighth and closer Steve Cishek gave up two in the ninth to extend the Mariners’ losing streak to four with a 4-3 loss to the Royals Thursday in Kansas City (box). The Mariners are 43-43 after 10 road losses in a row and tied with the San Francisco Giants for the major league lead in most one-run games with 30. The Mariners have lost 18.Essential moment
The Mariners, who committed four errors in the previous two games, had four double plays in the game but needed a fifth, and Paxton couldn’t deliver it. Ahead 3-0 in the eighth with runners on first and second, Paxton fielded a comebacker, but instead of going to second to start an easy double play, he soft-tossed to first for one out. The next hitter, Paulo Orlando, drove home Salvador Perez and Cheslor Cuthbert with a single to center to cut the lead to 3-2. Paxton earlier made a poor throw to first that still got an out, but seemed unsettled by his throws in the field.
Cishek came in to the ninth despite Paxton having thrown only 78 pitches and gave up a double to rookie Whit Minnifield, then hit Kendrys Morales. After Eric Hosmer struck out, Perez hit a long double to right center that scored both runners without a throw home.
Paxton had a dominant game — only 35 pitches through five innings – with only four hits through seven, using his cutter to induce grounders. But three singles in the eighth and his own misplay let the Royals back in to end a four-game losing streak.
In his second start for the Mariners, CF Daniel Robertson had his first hit, an RBI single in the second that scored 1B Dae-Ho Lee, who doubled. In the fifth, Robertson missed a home run by two feet, settling for a double off the fence. After a sacrifice bunt by LF Shawn O’Malley, Robertson scored on a sac fly by SS Ketel Marte.
Cruz supplied the third run in the seventh with a solo homer, his 23rd. But the Mariners managed only seven hits off starter Danny Duffy in 6.1 innings. The KC bullpen, AL leaders in earned run average, allowed only the Cruz homer the rest of the way. Besides Robertson, 2B Robinson Cano and 3B Kyle Seager each had two hits, the latter extending his hit streak to 10 games.
“That one’s going to eat at me a little bit. I felt like I was turning too quick.” — Paxton, on his failure to go to second base in the eighth inning with a comebacker
“It was a one-run game, James had just given up two runs. Cishek’s been our guy all year . . . We should have won that game. We didn’t put them deep enough away.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
Robinson Cano will be one of the eight participants in the Home Run Derby Monday at San Diego’s Petco Park, the day before he appears in his seventh All-Star Game. With 20 home runs, Cano has drawn Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the first round. It’s his fourth time participating in the event, starting in 2011 when he won in part by setting the record, 12, for home runs in the first round. The derby pitcher was his father, who will take the hill Monday.
The second in the four-game series is at 5:15 p.m. PT Friday, pitting Hisashi Iwakuma (8-6, 4.43 ERA) against Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura (6-6, 5.26 ERA).