Blanton showing no rust on comeback trail

'It's been fun,' Royals starter says after dominant outing vs. Seattle

Blanton showing no rust on comeback trail

SEATTLE -- For most of the spring, Royals right-hander Joe Blanton was simply happy he had completed his comeback after walking away from the game last season.

Now, though, Blanton likely will have to elevate his expectations after the Royals' 4-1 win over the Mariners on Monday.

Blanton, making his second spot for an injury-riddled Royals rotation, was lights-out against the Mariners. He faced one over the minimum through six innings -- a Robinson Cano homer -- before parting after giving up a hit to lead off the seventh.

Blanton registered the win, his second straight, while walking none and striking out seven.

"It's been fun," Blanton said of his return to the game. "It's a good group of guys to hang out with. They like to have fun so it has made the whole experience enjoyable."

As for his effort Monday, Blanton wasn't necessarily in awe of himself.

"I felt OK," he said. "Salvy [Perez] did a great job behind the plate. I dodged a couple bullets early with deep fly balls. Settled in after that. And we did a great job offensively."

Perez on Royals' victory

What was working so well?

"Little bit of everything," he said. "Curveball wasn't good but slider was good. Changeup was OK, kept them off-balance -- like I said, Salvy did a great job."

Blanton had retired 16 straight when Austin Jackson led off the seventh with a double, and out came manager Ned Yost with the hook.

"I've got the best bullpen in baseball," Yost said.

Holland shuts the door

Blanton couldn't muster an argument.

"That's a hard one to argue when you got those guys in the bullpen," Blanton said. "That's a good backstop to have."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.