Craig Paquette credited a long batting prac tice for one of the biggest days of his career.
“I came out yesterday and took 500 swings,” he said. “I was just trying to feel comfortable and trust my hands.”
Paquette responded by breaking out of a slump with two homers, including a sixth-inning grand slam that led the Kansas City Royals over the Seattle Mariners 11-5 Saturday night and stopped a seven-game losing streak.
Paquette, in a 5-for-53 slump coming in, hit a solo homer off Jamie Moyer (4-1) in the fifth, then connected off Moyer an inning later for his second career grand slam.
“He threw me a fastball away on the first home run,” Paquette said. “I was looking for a changeup away. He left it out over the plate.”
It was the third career multihomer game for Paquette, who has four homers and 16 RBIs this season.
“We stayed with him,” Kansas City manager Bob Boone said. “We need that out of his bat. He’s been working hard.”
Mariners manager Lou Piniella said a walk to Chili Davis before the grand slam hurt.
“Chili Davis laid off some good pitches,” he said.
Randy Veres (4-0) allowed one run and three hits in 2-1/3 innings to get the win, and Hipolito Pichardo got four outs for his seventh save.
Moyer, who had won six consecutive decisions since a 4-2 loss at Kansas City last Sept. 11, gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings.
Joey Cora had four hits for the Mariners, who have lost five of seven. Jose Offerman and Jay Bell had three hits each for the Royals.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Mike Blowers’ RBI single and Rob Ducey’s sacrifice fly.
Paquette homered on the first pitch in the fifth, then homered in the sixth following a single by Bell and walks to Jeff King and pinch-hitter Chili Davis.
Ducey hit a run-scoring double in the sixth, pulling the Mariners to 6-3. K.C.’s Jeff King added an RBI single in the seventh, and Ken Griffey Jr. hit a run-scoring single in the eighth to give him a major league-leading 58 RBIs.
Royals Tom Goodwin and Bell hit two-run singles in the eighth. Paul Sorrento homered in the ninth for the Mariners.
Kansas City signed right-hander Gregg Olson to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Class AAA Omaha. Olson was released by Minnesota after going 0-0 with an 18.36 ERA in 11 games… . Cora has a 19-game hitting streak… . Ducey was called out for leaving third base too soon in the sixth following a fly by Alex Rodriguez. King, the first baseman, took the throw from left and threw to third, where umpire John Shulock made the call.
Paquette had a pair of multi-homer game with Oakland in 1995. On June 4, 1995, he homered twice at Baltimore, hitting his first career grand slam… . Jay Buhner’s streak of homers in four consecutive games was stopped… . Royals right-hander Kevin Appier already has lost two 1-0 games. Mariners box score/C6
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