SEATTLE– In their past three games the Seattle Mariners showed why, according to manager Eric Wedge, it’s important to let them play through the inconsistency of their successes and failures.
Rookie Everett Teaford, making his first major league start for the Kansas City Royals, shut down the Mariners on Sunday in a 2-1 Royals victory at Safeco Field.
One day earlier, young Felipe Paulino and three Royals relievers struck out 16 Mariners hitters in a 5-3 K.C. victory.
That followed one of the Mariners’ better offensive games of the season, a 7-3 victory when they pounded veteran Jeff Francis.
The Mariners’ offense has performed better since early in the season but still succumbed to 28 strikeouts in the past two games, including a dozen Sunday. It’s growing pains, Wedge said.
“We’ve talked about being aggressive vs. being passive,” Wedge said. “Early in the year we were really passive. But we’re trying to find it and as we continue to get more experience, the strikeouts are going to come down and we’ll do more damage.”
Teaford struck out five in five innings and the Royals’ young relievers – Blake Wood, Greg Holland and closer Joaquim Soria – recorded seven strikeouts in the last four innings.
The Mariners’ only run came in the eighth off Holland when Ichiro Suzuki doubled to score pinch runner Michael Saunders.
One day after all 10 Mariners who batted in Saturday night’s game struck out at least once, the only hitters not to strike out Sunday were Ichiro and Justin Smoak.
Suzuki finished 1 for 4, giving him 168 hits for the season with 16 games remaining for him to get 200 for the 11th straight season.
Smoak singled in the ninth and went 1 for 4, but he’s batting .333 with six RBIs in 10 games since he came off the disabled list.
“As they continue to learn themselves in regard to pitch selection – fastballs they can get to and fastballs they need to lay off, different counts, different situations – they’ll be better,” Wedge said.
E—A.Vasquez (2). LOB—Kansas City 9, Seattle 5. 2B—A.Gordon 2 (45), Hosmer (24), I.Suzuki (20). RBIs—A.Gordon 2 (82), I.Suzuki (40). SB—Ryan (12). S—Getz. RLISP—Kansas City 5, Seattle 2. GIDP—Butler. DP—Kansas City 1, Seattle 1.
IR-S—Kelley 2-1. IBB—Me.Cabrera. HBP—Getz. WP—Teaford. T—2:34. A—20,951 (47,878).