By Jeffrey Flanagan and Scott Chasen
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
KANSAS CITY -- A wild pitch by Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura plated two go-ahead runs and the Mariners held on for a 3-2 victory, snapping their 10-game road losing streak, on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
With runners on second and third and two out in the Mariners' sixth, a Ventura breaking ball skipped away from catcher Salvador Perez up the first-base line. Baserunner Seth Smith scooted toward home and Perez's errant throw to Ventura at the plate got away and rolled to the backstop, allowing Robinson Cano to also score from second.
"You need to do [the little things], especially against this club," Mariners manager Scott Servais said, "They usually don't beat themselves."
Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was solid, logging 6 2/3 innings and leaving with a two-run lead. He gave up one run on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Ventura gave up six hits and three runs over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five. Perez homered in the ninth, his 13th, off closer Steve Cishek, who picked up his 21st save.
"He threw the ball well," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Ventura. "Seven innings, three runs, he gave us an opportunity to win that game. He kept us in the game. Just had the fluky play where Sal did a great job of keeping the ball in front of him.
"Sal ran out. They did it about as good as they could do it. That's a tough play for Sal with momentum going that way and turning around and throwing the ball back that way. It ended up costing us two runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED A wild, wild sixth: In the sixth inning, designated hitter Nelson Cruz lined a shot to right field that appeared to slice foul. Smith and Cano rounded the bases after first-base umpire CB Bucknor ruled it was a home run, but the umpires got together and deemed it a foul ball before initiating a crew chief review. The foul call was confirmed and the game remained tied at 1 until Ventura's wild pitch scored two.
"It's hard to tell," Servais said of the play. "You have to take a look at that."
Two-out hitting: The Royals were one of the top two-out hitting teams in baseball last season, and came through in the fourth with a run engineered after two out. Perez drew a four-pitch walk from Iwakuma, then went to second on Paulo Orlando's single to center. Then, Cheslor Cuthbert lined a hard single to center, and Perez scored, though the rally ended there when Orlando was cut down trying to get back to second after the throw home was cut off.
Setting the tone: After starting July with a somewhat disappointing outing, Iwakuma set the tone early on. He struck out the first two batters he faced on six total pitches and had recorded five punchouts by the end of the third inning. At that point, Iwakuma had already tied the most strikeouts he'd thrown in a start since striking out seven on June 5. He finished with more strikeouts (six) than hits allowed (five) for the first time in that span, while picking up his ninth quality start of the year. More >
"I think overall I was able to make good pitches ... execute when I needed to," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "My stuff has been working a lot better ... I'm able to go with my style: making guys chase, making guys put the ball in play [to] get out of tough innings."
Missed chance: The Royals were set up to perhaps tie it in the seventh. With one out, Orlando doubled down the left-field line, and went to third on a flyout. Alcides Escobar walked. Right-hander Edwin Diaz replaced Iwakuma to face Jarrod Dyson. Escobar stole second, putting the potential tying run in scoring position. And Diaz fell behind in the count 3-0. But on a 3-2 pitch, Dyson hit a one hopper that Cano fielded at second. Cano threw out Dyson to end the threat.
"We just didn't have many good chances," Yost said.
"I was turning third ... in a situation like that, you want to make a hard turn. When I [saw] a chance, I said, 'I'm going.'" -- Cano, on deciding to stay aggressive by going home on the error by Perez
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the the seventh inning with Orlando on second and one out, Cuthbert flied out to Smith and Orlando tagged to go to third. Smith's throw to third baseman Kyle Seager did not appear to be in time, but the Mariners challenged to see if Orlando came off the bag. With no clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, the call stood as ruled.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Left-hander Wade Miley (6-5, 5.36 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. PT for the third game of the series at Kauffman Stadium. Miley faced the Royals earlier this year and was dominant, giving up five hits in the first shutout of his career.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (7-8, 4.87) will get the ball on Saturday against the Mariners at 3:15 p.m. CT. Volquez will look to move past his last home start on June 24, in which he gave up 12 runs (11 earned) to the Astros and was replaced before recording an out in the second inning.