Wild, Back-and-Forth Series Win for M’s in KC

Following a heartbreaking series loss, (which could have very easily been a Seattle sweep) against the Baltimore Orioles at home, the Mariners hit the road to take on the last-place Kansas City Royals in Missouri these last four days. These Royals sure didn’t play like a last-place team, where every game was pushed to the limits. In the four games against the Royals, Seattle outscored Kansas City 28 to 24. Three of the four were decided by one run. Blown saves, late-inning homers and much, much more… and here’s an in-depth look at all four, starting with, you guessed it, a wild opener on Monday night.

The thin man, Logan Gilbert got the nod Monday against KC’s Brady Singer.

Seattle couldn’t get jack going against Singer. He actually carried a no-no all the way into the top of the seventh. Singer was borderline untouchable throughout the contest.

KC jumped ahead early in this one, thanks to savvy-veteran (or should I say “Salvy-veteran”) catcher Salvador Perez’s three-run blast in the first. Just when it looked like Gilbert found his stride after three innings of scoreless work, second-year man Bobby Witt Jr laced a liner directly at Dominic Canzone in right, who lost the ball mid-air, and the speedy Witt went inside-the-park to give the Royals a 4-0 lead in the fifth. They then added one more in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk by Isaiah Campbell.

Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals

Bobby Witt Jr has been on a heater as of late at the dish. Here's him motoring around third for an inside-the-park home run Monday night.Photo: Ed Zurga / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Gilbert was only able to go 4 1/3 innings, allowing four earned on seven hits.

But, those pesky Mariners, down five in the eighth finally found their stride. After Dylan Moore, Mike Ford and Josh Rojas loaded the bases, Julio Rodriguez cleared those then-loaded bases on a 107-MPH double into the left field corner. He was then promptly brought home on a Eugenio Suarez RBI single.

Down one, headed to the top of the ninth, it was the new guy Josh Rojas, who scored Teoscar Hernandez on a two-out, game-tying RBI single. Julio then struck again with an RBI single of his own to give the M’s the late lead.

But bottom nine was a different story. After Seattle’s miraculous five-run comeback, Matt Brash gave up two singles, a Salvy Perez sacrifice fly and a walk-off safety squeeze bunt. The comeback was all-for-not, as Seattle lost their third consecutive ballgame, this time by a score of 7-6.

Tuesday was a different, yet similar story… if that makes any sense at all. It was the rookie Emerson Hancock making his second-career start against righty Jordan Lyles, who came into the game with a record of 3-13.

Seattle in the fourth did none other than mash FOUR home runs. Eugenio Suarez’s 17th was a solo shot, Ty France (a pitch later, solo) cranked his tenth, Teo Hernandez went oppo for a two-run bomb (his 18th) and Josh Rojas capped it off with his first of the season, scoring two. Seattle left the fourth inning with a seven-run lead.

Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals

Four home runs for the Mariners in the fourth inning Tuesday night. Eugenio Suarez, Ty France, Teoscar Hernandez and Josh Rojas (both pictured here).Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

But that lead was shrunk and shrunk fast. An RBI single by red-hot Maikel Garcia was followed by a Witt Jr grand slam, and in the blink of an eye, it was a two-run game. That was the end of the road for the rookie Hancock who gave up five earned runs on nine hits over five innings.

Teo Hernandez (5-5, 3 RBI) got one back to get the Seattle lead with an RBI double that scored Geno Suarez. But here we go again…

Bottom nine for the Royals against Andres Munoz. An error by Josh Rojas, and two walks loaded the bases for Michael Massey. He brought two home on a single up the middle and the lead for Seattle was back down to one. It was Salvy again who delivered…again for KC. A two-out RBI single knotted this game at eight. A once seven-run advantage for the M’s was erased as Tuesday’s showdown went to extras.

With Cade Marlowe on at second to begin the inning, Jose Caballero was nailed by a 92-MPH fastball, putting two on with no outs. Sam Haggerty sacrificed the two runners over with a bunt, and then the Royals, smartly, decided to intentionally walk J-Rod. It was up to Ty France to be the hero.

France (4-6, 3 RBI) lined one up the middle scoring the speedsters Marlowe and Caballero. The M’s got two, and lefty Taylor Saucedo came in to get the save. He made extremely quick work of the Royals, throwing just six pitches, as Seattle got back to their winning ways, as they took a crazy one by a score of 10-8.

Just when you thought games one and two were too much to handle, this series just kept getting wilder and wilder. Game three of four on Wednesday night featured La Piedra, Luis Castillo on the bump against rookie James McArthur.

The M’s struck first for a second-consecutive game. In the top half of the first, a leadoff J-Rod double followed by a Ty France RBI single gave Seattle the lead. Then it was Cal Raleigh, who went yabbo for the 21st time on the season, scoring Ty, and the Mariners lead was three.

The Royals scored one in all three of the first three innings. Two sacrifice flies and a double. Julio had his second hit of the game, an RBI single in the second, and after three complete, it was 4-3 Seattle.

KC tied it in the sixth on a GIDP by Nelson Velazquez. The M’s got the lead back late in the top of the eighth. It was Dylan Moore who slid home safely head-first just before Perez could get the tag down on a shallow sacrifice fly off the bat of Teo Hernandez.

Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals

Dylan Moore took a major risk, and was rewarded Wednesday night. He slid in safely on a shallow sacrifice fly to give Seattle the lead late in the ballgame.Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Castillo, despite not having nearly his best stuff, was able to work all the way until the eighth. He went seven complete, allowing four earned on nine hits, while only punching out three.

It was Julio again (4-6, 2 RBI) who scored Sam Haggerty on an RBI single in the top of the ninth. It was up to Matt Brash to close it out for Seattle. With two strikes, left fielder Nelson Velazquez homered off of Brash to yet again, make Wednesday a one-run game. But the Canadian-native Brash got the next three batters to go down in order, including Witt Jr, as Seattle won by a score of 6-5.

You tired yet? Me too. Game four of four featured All-Star George Kirby up against lefty Angel Zerpa.

Seattle again got on the board early. It was the J-Rod show again, as he delivered an RBI single in the second. Oh boy did he have quite the day, just wait…

Velazquez did it again for KC, as his solo shot off of Kirby in the fourth knotted it at one.

Julio, in the sixth, sharply doubled to left for yet another RBI giving Seattle the lead back at 2-1. But the Royals again responded, this time with three of their own in the bottom half. Michael Massey tied it at two with an RBI single, MJ Melendez doubled home Massey and Freddy Fermin sacrifice flew home Velazquez, but Rodriguez nabbed the other base runner at third to end the inning and limit the damage.

Kirby was done after six, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, while only striking out two throughout his start. Isaiah Campbell, Trent Thornton and Matt Brash were excellent in relief duties following Kirby.

Down two, Seattle dug into the batter’s box in the top of the eighth. Cade Marlowe doubled and Dom Canzone walked, putting two aboard for the reigning ROY Julio Rodriguez. It was certainly the J-Rod Show Thursday as he punished a first-pitch fastball over the wall in left to give Seattle the lead late. Julio went 5-5 with FIVE RBIs.

Seattle Mariners v Kansas City Royals

It was the series of Julio Rodriguez. 12-21, 11 RBI, and his clutch-factor has never been higher. Where he goes, the team goes, and it showed this series.Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Now top nine and with a one-run advantage, Cal Raleigh with two down, cranked a solo shot to right giving the M’s some much-needed insurance. Brash came in the bottom half and went 1-2-3 as every Mariner fan exhaled deeply. A 6-4 final Thursday, as somehow someway, Seattle managed to take three of four. It was their seventh series win in the last eight.

Julio became the first player in Seattle history with 20+ home runs in each of his first two seasons. He is now only the fourth in Seattle history with back-to-back four-hit performances. On Wednesday, Cal Raleigh became the second-fastest to 50 career home runs in Seattle history, (just trailing Alex Rodriguez).

No time for rest following four exhausting games in Kansas City as Seattle is headed to the Lone Star State to take on the division-rival Houston Astros. They are coming off of a series win in Miami and are 3.5 games in front of the M’s. Both Seattle and Houston are 7-3 in their last ten, so this weekend series suits up to be yet another prime matchup between two strong teams. A crucial three-game set that is detrimental for both sides. Of course, we all remember what the ‘Stros did to Seattle in the ALDS last October…

Pitching probables for SEA @ HOU:

  • Friday 8/18, 5:10 PM PT: RHP Bryce Miller (7-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. RHP J.P. France (9-3, 2.74 ERA)
  • Saturday 8/19, 4:10 PM PT: RHP Logan Gilbert (10-5, 3.80 ERA) vs. LHP Framber Valdez (9-8, 3.31 ERA)
  • Sunday 8/20, 10:05 AM PT: RHP Emerson Hancock (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Hunter Brown (9-8, 4.16 ERA)

American League West standings as of Thursday evening:

  • 1.Texas Rangers (72-49)
  • 2.Houston Astros (70-52), 2.5 GB, +3.0 WCGB
  • 3.Seattle Mariners (66-55), 6.0 GB, 0.5 WCGB
  • 4.Los Angeles Angels (60-62), 12.5 GB, 7.0 WCGB
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (34-87), worst record in MLB

Want more in-depth M’s info, and don’t want to read?? I am with you, (even though you read this entire article). Listen to the “Talkin’ Ners with Rory and Ders” podcast to get all the good stuff about your favorite baseball team here in Seattle! Available anywhere you listen to podcasts:

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