July 17, 2012 in Sports

M’s flush Royals

Mariners take advantage of Sanchez, pound Kansas City
Dave Skretta Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki connects for a single in the first inning.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Casper Wells walked back to the dugout after belting a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run triple in the second, and was already hearing it from his Seattle teammates.

The toughest two legs of the cycle were in the books.

Piece of cake from here, right?

“It was like, geez, thanks guys,” said Wells, whose five RBIs in the first two innings of the Mariners’ 9-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night were a career high.

“Do you tell a pitcher when they’re throwing a perfect game, ‘Hey, you’re throwing a perfect game?’ ” Wells said with a smile. “It’s like, ‘Hey, thanks.’ ”

Wells couldn’t manage a hit in his next three at-bats, though the Mariners hardly needed any more offense. They had already battered Royals starter Jonathan Sanchez for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings and were on their way to their best output since June 20.

Justin Smoak also had a two-run homer off Sanchez (1-6), Ichiro Suzuki added an RBI triple and Dustin Ackley homered to pace one of the worst offenses in the American League.

“I loved the way they turned around some fastballs,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “If you want to be a good big league hitter, you have to turn around some fastballs.”

Or whatever else Sanchez was throwing.

Jason Vargas (9-7) took advantage of Seattle’s instant offense, giving up homers to Salvador Perez and Billy Butler but still lasting six shaky innings to win his second straight game.

Vargas went the distance in beating Oakland just before the All-Star break.

“When your offense comes out like that,” he said, “you shouldn’t blow the lead.”

Acquired this past offseason for outfielder Melky Cabrera, the MVP of the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium just last week, Sanchez has been nothing short of abysmal all year.

He hasn’t gone past the sixth inning since May 28, 2011, and hasn’t allowed fewer than four runs since early June. His already-bloated ERA rose to 7.76, and he’s drawn the ire of Kansas City fans for his almost nonchalant attitude during and after his outings.

“When you work four days in a row to make a start and it doesn’t work, it’s kind of frustrating,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez didn’t even give fans a chance to get comfy Monday night.

He walked Ackley on five pitches to start the game, and then watched Ichiro dump a single into left field before Wells belted a three-run homer to left. Jesus Montero added a single and Smoak hit his two-run shot, giving the Mariners a 5-0 lead after just five batters.

Sanchez retired the next batter to get through the inning, but gave up another base hit to Brendan Ryan leading off the second. Ackley added a single and Wells a two-run triple, giving Seattle a 7-0 lead and sending Sanchez on the slow trudge back to the dugout.

He still hasn’t won since his Royals debut on April 8.

“They jumped on a couple of high fastballs for home runs in the first,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s one of those games where they were on him, put seven runs up early, and there’s not much we could do.”

All that offense came from a Seattle lineup that came into the night second-to-last in the A.L. in homers, runs and team batting average (.229), and last in on-base percentage and RBIs.

Perez homered to help Kansas City crack the scoreboard in the third inning, and Butler’s two-run shot with two outs gave the Royals’ sullen fanbase reason to hope – at least for the precious few minutes before Seattle came to the plate in the fourth inning.

Ichiro’s RBI triple put a crimp in their comeback hopes, and Ackley’s homer in the sixth may have dashed them entirely. The Mariners coasted from there to a series-opening victory.

“We can’t control the end result,” Wedge said. “We just want to go out there, put together good at-bats, turn around some fastballs, and if we do that, the runs will come.”

Notes

Ryan left after his second-inning at-bat, when he fouled a pitch off his left knee. He is day to day with a bruise. … Right-hander Blake Beavan is expected to return from Triple-A Tacoma to start tonight for Seattle. The Royals had not decided on a starter.

Seattle ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Ackley 2b 432110.233
I.Suzuki rf 512100.260
C.Wells lf 512500.269
J.Montero c 412011.246
Smoak 1b 411211.199
Seager 3b 500002.241
Olivo dh 400001.195
M.Saunders cf 400002.254
Ryan ss 111000.186
Kawasaki ss 211010.194
Totals 38911947
Kansas City ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
A.Gordon lf 413010.285
A.Escobar ss 501001.311
Hosmer 1b 311120.225
Butler dh 411201.294
L.Cain cf 401000.276
Moustakas 3b 402000.271
Francoeur rf 400000.252
Y.Betancourt 2b 401000.233
S.Perez c 311110.371
Totals 35411442
Seattle 520101000—9110
Kansas City 003000100—4112

E—A.Escobar (10), S.Perez (1). LOB—Seattle 6, Kansas City 8. 2B—J.Montero (13), A.Gordon (29), Y.Betancourt (11). 3B—I.Suzuki (4), C.Wells (1). HR—C.Wells (5), off J.Sanchez; Smoak (12), off J.Sanchez; Ackley (6), off Teaford; S.Perez (5), off Vargas; Butler (17), off Vargas. RBIs—Ackley (26), I.Suzuki (28), C.Wells 5 (22), Smoak 2 (36), Hosmer (40), Butler 2 (54), S.Perez (9). SB—Hosmer (9). RLSP—Seattle 4, Kansas City 4. RISP—Seattle 3 for 11; Kansas City 2 for 8. GIDP—A.Escobar 2. DP—Seattle 3.

Seattle IPHRERBBSOERA
Vargas W,9-7 6733304.09
Kelley 2/3211003.29
O.Perez 0100003.60
League 11/3000013.18
Kinney 2/3100110.00
Luetge 1/3000001.57
Kansas City IPHRERBBSOERA
J.Sanchez L,1-6 11/3777127.76
L.Coleman 22/3111124.08
Teaford 5311234.98

IR-S—O.Perez 2-1, League 2-0, Luetge 2-0, L.Coleman 1-0. T—2:59. A—16,697 (37,903).

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