By Andrew Erickson and Jeffrey Flanagan
SEATTLE -- Mariners rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery, a former Royals prospect, survived a shaky start, then overmatched the Royals with a four-hit, complete-game shutout as the Mariners rolled to a 7-0 victory on Tuesday at Safeco Field.
Montgomery, who was part of the Royals' James Shields trade with Tampa Bay in 2012, offered up his best big league start in five tries since making his debut June 2. Montgomery survived a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the first, and sneaked out of a two-runners-on, no-out situation in the second. He walked none and struck out 10.
"He started to really command the secondary stuff early, then the fastball came," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "Early on the fastball was up, but once he hit his stride he was pretty tough."
Dustin Ackley singled, doubled and homered for Seattle and continued his dominance of Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie. Ackley is now 9-for-13 lifetime against Guthrie, who lasted just five innings, and gave up nine hits and six runs.
"The scouting report was that he hits balls low and in," Guthrie said. "I tried to go up and away and he got it."
Logan Morrison extended the lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer, his ninth of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Fourth inning frenzy: Putting together hits has been a challenge for the Mariners this season, particularly when there have been runners in scoring position. In the fourth inning, the Mariners offense managed to buck that trend, sending eight hitters to the plate and scoring three runs on three base hits from right fielder Seth Smith, Ackley and catcher Mike Zunino to give Seattle a 3-0 lead.
"I think any time you can get a lead for a pitcher, it tends to relax him a little bit," McClendon said. "They don't hinge on every pitch like when it's 0-0."
Ack attack: Having already notched a ground-rule double and a bloop single in his first two at-bats, Ackley drove a 2-2 sinker from Guthrie 392 feet to right-center field for his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth. The two-out blast, which also scored Smith, gave the Mariners a 6-0 lead and put Ackley just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Early chances wasted: The Royals had a golden opportunity to break the game open in the first inning. Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas led off with singles against Montgomery, who then hit Lorenzo Cain with a pitch, loading the bases. But with the infield back conceding the run, Eric Hosmer couldn't put it in play and struck out. Then Kendrys Morales chopped a grounder to first and the Mariners were able to turn a 3-6-1 double play. The Royals had another terrific chance in the second inning when their first two hitters reached. But then Alex Rios, Omar Infante and Escobar all struck out, just the ninth time this season the Royals have struck out three times in an inning (lowest in baseball). More >
"We definitely had opportunities," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But Montgomery went to a changeup and we swung at a lot of balls out of the zone. At that point, we still thought we could get them next inning, but there was no more getting anything.
"He just settled in. Good pitching. Great changeup. That pitch would come in as a fastball and disappear as a changeup."
"After the first, that was nothing." -- McClendon on Montgomery striking out the side in the second after allowing the Royals' first two hitters to reach base
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy will make his first start in 39 days as he comes off the disabled list after recovering from left biceps tendinitis. Duffy (2-3, 5.87 ERA), who has a 1.86 ERA over two career starts against the Mariners, takes the hill at 5:10 p.m. CT.
Mariners:Roenis Elias takes the mound on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. PT searching for his second straight win. The 26-year-old lefty struck out 10 Astros hitters on Friday night to improve to 4-4 on the season. Elias is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts at Safeco Field this season and has allowed more than two runs in just one of those starts.
Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.