KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Throughout this trip, the embattled Seattle Mariners had to wonder where all of their luck had gone.
They had zero luck at timely hitting, none when their ace pitcher tried to throw a ball to second base and absolutely nothing in terms of good fortune when it came to their bullpen keeping the ball in the park. But all of that changed in a huge three-run eighth inning on Tuesday night, enough of an outburst to key a 3-2 win thanks to a critical break on an ill-advised fielding play by Royals reliever Robinson Tejeda.
With two on, one out and a run already in, Tejeda stuck his glove out at a tailor-made double-play chopper by Jose Lopez. Instead of ending the inning with a one-run lead, Tejeda deflected the ball into the outfield for a tying double by Lopez. The Royals soon were looking at a one-run deficit.
Milton Bradley, who gave and took taunting exchanges with the Kauffman Stadium crowd of 14,969 all night, drew a full-count walk against reliever Bruce Chen that same inning to force home the go-ahead run.
Mark Lowe pitched a scoreless eighth, working for the first time since being tagged for a walk-off homer by Andruw Jones of the Chicago White Sox last Friday. And closer David Aardsma exorcised some demons of his own, retiring the side in the ninth for the save in his first outing since getting burned for two homers in the ninth inning of a walk-off loss at Chicago on Saturday.
The Mariners snapped their four-game losing streak on this trip, but only after Royals starter and reigning Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke extended his personal string of scoreless innings against Seattle to 29.
The Mariners came out swinging early. Of the 26 hitters faced by Greinke, 22 of them swung at one of the first three pitches.
But the Mariners were more successful at swinging than they were at making solid contact. Of the 24 swings they took among the first three pitches of an at-bat, they fouled off 10 of them.
In the end, Greinke made it through seven scoreless, using 119 pitches to do it and winning his mismatch showdown with M’s starter and soon-to-be reliever Ian Snell.
Snell allowed a plethora of base runners throughout his 51/3 innings, yet managed to strand most of them to keep the game close.
But though he kept the Royals largely off the scoreboard, a 29-pitch opening frame and 23-pitch fourth inning ensured he wouldn’t last much beyond five frames.
This will likely be Snell’s final start for some time, with the team about to move him to the bullpen to make room in the starting rotation for Cliff Lee.
Snell played with fire the first three innings, then finally got burned in the fourth when Jason Kendall walked and Mitch Maier tripled to open the scoring. In the fifth, Billy Butler singled and scored on a triple by Alberto Callaspo to make it 2-0.
While that was going on, the offensive nightmare that has typified this Mariners season was continuing against Greinke.
Mariners 3, Royals 2
|Griffey Jr. dh||3||0||1||0||1||0||.226|
LOB—Seattle 9, Kansas City 9. 2B—Jo.Lopez (3), Moore (2), Gordon (1). 3B—Callaspo (1), Maier (2). RBIs—F.Gutierrez (13), Jo.Lopez (10), Bradley (11), Callaspo (12), Maier (3). CS—I.Suzuki (3). RLSP—Seattle 4; Kansas City 7. DP—Seattle 1; KC 1.
|Kelley W,1-0||1 2/3||0||0||0||0||1||2.57|
|Rupe L,0-1 H,4||1/3||2||3||3||1||1||5.14|
IR-S—Kelley 2-0, Tejeda 2-1, Chen 3-1. WP—Snell. T—3:05. A—14,969 (37,840).