SEATTLE – Jamie Moyer knew where he might have stood in Kansas City Royals history – much less his own – had they beat him Wednesday.
“I didn’t want to be the one they broke out against,” the Seattle Mariners’ veteran pitcher said.
He hardly had to worry.
Unable to break out of their own way, the Royals lost their 18th straight game when Moyer pitched seven strong innings and the Mariners beat them 11-5 at Safeco Field.
The Mariners clubbed 14 hits, including Adrian Beltre’s grand slam in the first inning and Richie Sexson’s 30th homer of the season in the fifth. The Mariners led 8-1 after Sexson’s homer and the Royals went on to play like a team that’s just beat down by getting beat.
They threw two wild pitches, committed a passed ball and hit a batter, and one outfielder tumbled over another while making a throw. Relief pitcher Mike MacDougal performed the ungrand finale in the eighth inning.
The Mariners had the bases loaded with one out when Dave Hansen hit an easy grounder back to MacDougal. He fielded the ball about 50 feet from the plate and threw it about 100 – well over catcher Paul Phillips’ head and to the backstop. A run scored and MacDougal covered his face.
“Sometimes you get used to losing and you forget how to win,” Moyer said. “They’ve got a lot of young guys and they probably haven’t seen the winning side. They’re probably grasping for it.
“Look at the fundamentals. It looked like he caught the ball and stood straight up and threw it. It’s got to be embarrassing. That’s why I tell guys, ‘Don’t take it for granted.’ “
Moyer certainly didn’t, especially with the Royals’ streak at stake.
He didn’t allow a baserunner until David DeJesus singled to center with one out in the fourth inning, and he finished with seven strikeouts and no walks. It gave Moyer a 10-4 record, including a 6-0 streak in day games.
“There’s really no room to relax in this game,” he said. “You’ve got to respect the game and you’ve got to respect your opponent. Getting runs early are big, but my feeling is you’ve got to put up zeroes behind it.”
He did, and the Royals didn’t have a chance.
The American League record is 21 straight losses, set by the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, and the Royals have a realistic chance of reaching it with three games this weekend at Oakland. The major league record is 24, which the Royals could reach next Thursday at home against the Red Sox. Their last victory came on July 27 against the White Sox.
“There’s a lot of history that I care about, but I care about moving on now,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “Nobody’s going to have pity on us.”
The Mariners didn’t when Royals starter J.D. Carrasco struggled with his control in the first inning.
He gave up a one-out single to Willie Bloomquist before walking Raul Ibanez and Sexson. Carrasco threw ball one to Beltre, then a fastball over the inner half of the plate. Beltre drove it over the center-field fence for his sixth career grand slam and his 16th home run this season.
By the end, the game was so far out of hand that those who remained of the 35,224 saw an unstylish finish, even without MacDougal’s bad throw.
Mike Morse, who lost his job at shortstop when the Mariners called up Yuniesky Betancourt, played left field for the first time in the ninth inning.
“I’m not sure he took a breath the whole time,” manager Mike Hargrove said.
As relief pitcher Matt Thornton walked the bases loaded, Morse constantly sought advice from center fielder Jeremy Reed on positioning, where to throw, etc.
“He was really funny,” Reed said.
Morse’s only play was to turn and watch Phillips’ fly ball off Thornton sail into the seats for a grand slam.
Scott Spiezio, the embattled utility player who went hitless in three starts over the weekend, batted with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning. He grounded into a double play on the first pitch, dropping his batting average to .043.
He hasn’t gotten a hit since July 20. As streaks go, even Spiezio has the Royals beat.
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