By Andrew Erickson and Jeffrey Flanagan
SEATTLE -- Mike Moustakas drilled a two-run homer as part of a seven-run fourth inning and left-hander Danny Duffy delivered 4 2/3 effective innings in his first start back from injury as the Royals handled the Mariners, 8-2, on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.
Duffy, whose last start came 39 days ago, gave up eight hits -- all singles -- and didn't walk anyone in his first start off the disabled list (biceps tendinitis). He struck out four and left after 88 pitches, right around his pitch limit of 90.
"I felt really good," Duffy said. "I just fatigued there at the end. I just emptied my tank."
Omar Infante also delivered a three-run double in the fourth, which was the Royals' biggest inning of the season.
"We know that we got a great game pitched against us last night," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It wasn't anything we did or didn't do…..tonight we just found holes."
Left-hander Roenis Elias took the loss for the Mariners. He was perfect through three innings before the Royals ambushed him. He left after 3 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and seven runs.
"Well, he lost command. He lost command of the fastball and breaking ball," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "Most of the fastballs he threw were elevated, middle of the plate."
Left fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who made his first Major League start since 2013, drove in one of two runs for an offense that left seven men on base and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Fatal free passes: Elias got Royals catcher Salvador Perez to fly out to left-center for the second out of the fourth inning with just two runs across. The lefty looked like he might get out of the inning with the home run to Moustakas his only blemish, but Elias threw a 3-2 changeup in the dirt to walk left fielder Alex Gordon and hit Alex Rios with a 1-2 fastball to load the bases for the Royals. Infante doubled to left two pitches later to clear the bases and blow the game wide open. More >
Moose gets it started: Moustakas was the first Royals hitter to see more than five pitches in an at-bat against Elias. And Moustakas finally got the pitch he wanted, a 3-2 fastball and he didn't miss. Moustakas drilled it over the right-field fence past the 380-foot sign, scoring Alcides Escobar and giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.
"Moose broke the ice," Yost said, "and Omar broke it open."
Hot Omar: Infante dealt the crippling blow, a three-run double that put the Royals up comfortably at 5-0 in the fateful fourth inning. Infante had three hits for the night and continued his hot hitting of late -- he is now 15 for his last 38 (.395).
Big-arm Brad: Every Kansas City hitter except Perez reached base safely Wednesday night, but a highlight-reel play by Mariners shortstop Brad Miller kept Rios off the basepaths in the sixth inning. Rios hit a hard ground ball into the hole between shortstop and third base, but Miller quickly ranged to his right and threw a bullet across his body to retire Rios for the first out of the inning. The Royals did not score on Mariners reliever Vidal Nuno in the sixth.
"I can't explain that fourth inning. I don't think anyone in the locker room can explain it. He just lost it." -- McClendon on the seven-run fourth inning that knocked Elias out of the ballgame
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (7-4, 3.33 ERA) will make his 200th career start when the Royals visit the A's on Friday night at 9:05 p.m. CT. Volquez, who hasn't faced Oakland since he was with Texas in 2007, won his last start over Boston, though he gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings..
Mariners: Seattle returns from its first off-day in more than two weeks on Friday when 22-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker takes the mound to open a three-game series against the Angels at 7:10 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Walker has won each of his last three starts, posting a 2.33 ERA in 19 1/3 innings over that span.
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.