KANSAS CITY -- Robinson Cano blasted two homers and the Mariners had five round-trippers total to support right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma in an 11-2 bashing of the Royals on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Cano homered in the first and hit a three-run homer in the third off Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, who was lit up for nine hits and eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first start returning to the rotation. Cano now has 1,999 career hits.
The Royals' magic number to clinch the American League Central remained at three. Kansas City's lead over Toronto for home-field advantage throughout remained at 1 1/2 games.
Iwakuma went seven innings and gave up three hits and no runs. He walked one and struck out 10 and is now 7-2 with a 2.66 ERA over his last 10 starts.
"Eleven runs, that's a lot," Iwakuma said with a smile. "I'm very happy they supported me early and that helped me, just being able to pitch with a good groove and being able to get ahead, knowing they weren't going to swing early. I took advantage of that."
Guthrie's outing was reminiscent of his start at Yankee Stadium on Memorial Day when he gave up 11 earned runs in one-plus innings. Alex Rios extended his hitting streak to 11 games for the Royals.
Royals manager Ned Yost would not comment on whether Guthrie makes his next start.
"I don't make decisions on things like that right after games -- you know that," Yost said. "We'll sleep on it and evaluate it."
But Yost did say that Danny Duffy wasn't an option because he wants Duffy to get acclimated to the bullpen for the postseason.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Busting out the bats: The Mariners have the most extra-base hits in the AL since the All-Star break and they added to that with four homers, a triple and double off Guthrie in his short stint. Cano supplied the loudest hit with his three-run blast in the third, a shot to right-center projected to travel 449 feet from the plate according to Statcast™. Seattle scored a season-high seven runs in that inning, with Brad Miller ending Guthrie's night with a 409-foot, two-run bomb of his own. Ketel Marte tripled to lead off the frame and Franklin Gutierrez just missed homering in his fifth straight game with a double off the wall.
"It's not rocket science," Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon said. "We're getting pitches to hit up in the zone and the guys are not missing them. They're taking advantage of them. I guess they're feeding off each other, I don't know. They say hitting is contagious. I think it's contagious if you're getting pitches to hit. Slumps are contagious when you're not getting pitches to hit."
Rookie is on: Left-hander Scott Alexander had a nice outing amid the wreckage of Guthrie's start. Alexander came on in the fifth and recorded the first 1-2-3 inning of the day for the Royals. In all, Alexander worked three innings and gave up one hit and no runs. He also induced two double-plays. Good work.
"Alexander did a nice job," Yost said. "You get into those situations and you're like 'OK, we're in the third inning. We got to find seven innings of pitching. How are we going to do that?' Somebody's going to have to come in, probably multiple guys are probably going to come in and pitch two innings apiece. It can get really ugly to the point where we have [outfielder] Jonny Gomes on the mound in the ninth inning"
Montero mash: Left-handed-hitting first baseman Logan Morrison likely would have gotten the start against the right-handed Guthrie, but LoMo flew home to Seattle for the birth of his first child on Monday and Jesus Montero got the call. And the 25-year-old responded with a 2-for-5, three-RBI night that included a two-run homer -- Seattle's fifth of the night -- in the fourth. Montero drove a 1-0 fastball from reliever Miguel Almonte over the center-field fence on a projected 431-foot blast. Montero enjoys facing the Royals as he's hit .486 (17-for-35) with three homers and 13 RBIs in nine games against them in his career.
"It's a good park to hit in, " Montero said. "In BP, I was having fun today. I was hitting some balls hard to center field then too and I had a good feeling for the game."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mariners have won eight of their last nine road games and are 40-36 in away games this season, though they're 34-41 at home. Seattle has the second-best road record in the Majors over the past two seasons at 86-71 (.548). The best road team in that span? That would be the Royals at 86-69 (.555).
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Left-hander Roenis Elias (5-8, 4.06 ERA) will get the ball for the middle game of this road set on Wednesday at 5:10 p.m. PT. Elias is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A. He hasn't started since Sept. 12, when he gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings to beat Colorado.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (12-8, 4.40) will start the rematch in this series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Over his last eight starts, Ventura is 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA, and he's coming off a win over Cleveland.