KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brad Miller stepped to the plate against one of baseball’s best closers in the ninth inning of a tied game, a sellout crowd rooting for him to fail.
Miller silenced them all with one swing of the bat.
The Seattle shortstop pounded a pitch from the Royals’ Greg Holland just inside the right-field foul pole, his homer breaking a 5-all tie and helping the Mariners to a 7-5 victory Friday night.
“That was honestly one of the best baseball games I’ve been a part of,” Miller said. “They’re one of the hottest teams in baseball and I was pumped.”
Logan Morrison drove in another run later in the ninth to provide some breathing room.
Charlie Furbush (1-4) inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth, but the Mariners’ reliever calmly retired Mike Moustakas on a lazy popup to shallow right field. Furbush then struck out Alcides Escobar to silence a crowd of 38,475 and keep the game tied.
After Holland (0-2) coughed up the lead, Fernando Rodney allowed two singles in the ninth for Seattle. But the veteran closer bounced back to retire pinch hitter Nori Aoki on a groundout, and then he struck out Alex Gordon on three pitches to earn his 19th save.
“They are big league baseball players. Big league ballplayers don’t miss mistakes too often,” Holland said. “I got up on (Miller) two strikes and didn’t get the slider where I wanted. I made a mistake. Sometimes you pay for them and I did tonight.”
Morrison added a two-run homer for Seattle, which overcame a subpar start from Hisashi Iwakuma to end the Royals’ five-game winning streak at Kauffman Stadium. Mike Zunino added a solo shot and Robinson Cano drove in two runs, extending his hitting streak to 21 games.
Moustakas hit a two-run shot to lead the Royals, who have dropped two in a row after winning 10 straight.
“Listen, we ran into a buzz saw. These guys are hot and everything is going for them,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “When you run into teams like that you have to play extremely well.”