Chen baffles M’s
Soft-tossing lefty leads Royals to 2-1 victory
SEATTLE –The roof extended at Safeco Field on an August Saturday night wasn’t exactly typical. But another Seattle Mariners loss due to one more fruitless hitting effort was.
After solving Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke a game earlier, the M’s didn’t get much done against soft-throwing lefty Bruce Chen and two relievers, and succumbed to Kansas City, 2-1.
On a drizzly summer evening, the Mariners’ five hits represented one more affront to offensive execution in a long line of them this year. They entered the game with 360 runs, the lowest total by 18 of any team in the major leagues. Eleven clubs have more than 500 runs.
“It’s about scoring runs,” said M’s manager Don Wakamatsu, echoing the season’s endless refrain. “And we didn’t score any runs tonight.”
No doubt it added a layer of frustration for Mariners right-hander David Pauley, who began in rocky fashion, steadied himself into the sixth inning, and still failed to gain his first major-league victory. He’s 0-7 lifetime, but, like some other Mariners on the mound, deserves better in 2010. He’s 0-4 but has a 3.38 earned-run average.
“My role is to keep the team in the ballgame,” Pauley insisted. “It doesn’t matter if I get a win or not.”
Pauley, called up from Tacoma late in June, wavered through two innings, unable to control his sinker. He threw 26 pitches in a scoreless Royals first and another 20 in the second, when they touched him for two runs.
But he settled down, even as reliever Chris Seddon warmed in the bullpen in the fourth inning, and Pauley got the Mariners into the sixth.
He left down 2-1, because Russell Branyan had halved the Royals’ lead in the fourth, slamming a Chen pitch over the center-field wall for his first homer since July 5.
But that was it for the Mariners against Chen, who, in his previous five starts, had a bulging 2.05 WHIP – ratio of walks and hits to innings pitched.
“He was just changing his look, dropping his arm down a little bit,” said Branyan. “He really stayed out of the heart of the plate.”
The M’s never drew a walk against any of the three K.C. pitchers. The last of those was the Royals’ ace closer, Joakim Soria, who opened the ninth by allowing a single to Chone Figgins.
He induced Casey Kotchman to hit a slow roller to second, blew Branyan away with three fastballs, and ended it with a nasty fastball on the outside corner waved at by Franklin Gutierrez. It was Soria’s 31st save, and tied Jeff Montgomery’s club record of 24 straight.
Royals 2, Mariners 1
E—Jo.Lopez (14). LOB—Kansas City 8, Seattle 4. 2B—B.Butler (31). HR—Branyan (14), off Chen. RBIs—G.Blanco (2), Getz (14), Branyan (35). SB—G.Blanco (2), Gordon (1). RLISP—Kansas City 3 (Betemit, G.Blanco, Gordon); Seattle 1 (F.Gutierrez). DP—Seattle 1 (Jo.Lopez, Figgins).
|Chen W, 7-5||7||3||1||1||0||4||92||4.44|
|Bl.Wood H, 9||1||1||0||0||0||0||11||5.45|
|Soria S, 31-33||1||1||0||0||0||2||12||2.15|
|Pauley L, 0-4||51/3||5||2||2||3||4||90||3.38|
IR-S—White 2-0, Olson 1-0. T—2:35. A—24,520 (47,878).