Sanchez roughed up as Royals drop opener

Sanchez roughed up as Royals drop opener

Sanchez roughed up as Royals drop opener
KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez's troubles -- and the Royals' -- continued unabated on Monday night.

Sanchez was hammered for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings as he and the Royals absorbed a 9-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium. It was the Royals' 11th loss in 14 games since a four-game winning streak in late June.

For Sanchez, the left-hander obtained from San Francisco in a winter deal for center fielder Melky Cabrera, it marked his 11th straight start without a victory since April 8. That was his first start for the Royals. His record fell to 1-6, while his ERA rose to 7.76.

Sanchez isn't sure what he can do to correct things.

"Trust me, if I knew it would've been fixed already," he said.

Sanchez's quick exit forced the Royals to use their scheduled Tuesday night starter, left-hander Everett Teaford, to pitch the final five innings. No replacement starter was named immediately after the game, but manager Ned Yost indicated that the Royals would bring up a starting pitcher from the Minors to take Teaford's spot. It very likely could be veteran left-hander Doug Davis, who has a 5-1 record at Triple-A Omaha. Tuesday night would be Davis' normal turn in the Storm Chasers' rotation.

Sanchez's future, Yost said, would be discussed.

Both Sanchez and Yost said that the lefty, who missed approximately half of last season with arm and ankle ailments, is healthy. They also feel that his velocity is good.

"He started the game at 93 mph. His first pitch was 93, had good life on it," Yost said.

Sanchez was encouraged after his previous start, when he pitched into the sixth inning tied 2-2 at Detroit but lost after giving up a two-run homer.

"It's pretty tough. You work four days in a row to go and make a start and it doesn't work, it's kind of frustrating," Sanchez said. "What can I say? I've just got to look forward, keep working and see what happens."

Frustration hit quickly in this outing. Five Mariners batted and five Mariners scored before Sanchez got the first out of the game.

Dustin Ackley walked, Ichiro Suzuki dumped a single into center field and Casper Wells hit the next pitch over the left-field wall, a three-run homer that traveled 403 feet.

"That was a fastball up," Wells said. "I wouldn't imagine he put it where he wanted to put it."

No, nor was the pitch that followed shortly to Justin Smoak. Jesus Montero drilled a single to left field and, on the next pitch, Smoak lined a home run over the left-field wall for a 5-0 lead.

Sanchez retired the next three batters, but he had already added to the problems he's had almost all season.

By the second inning, Sanchez was out of the game. Brendan Ryan and Ackley each singled and, after Ichiro popped out, Wells sent a two-run triple into the right-center gap. That gave the Mariners a 7-0 lead, prompted a fresh round of boos from the crowd of 16,697 that brought Yost out of the dugout to bring right-hander Louis Coleman out of the bullpen. Coleman got two quick outs to end the inning.

The 1 1/3-inning start was the shortest of Sanchez's career.

"The last start was better and today I just got hit around. They hit some good pitches and scored first and it was time for me to get out of the game," he said.

The Royals got to left-hander Jason Vargas for three runs in the third inning. Salvador Perez led off with his fifth home run in 17 games, a 412-foot shot to left field. After Eric Hosmer drew a walk, Billy Butler belted a two-run no-doubter toward the Royals Hall of Fame, a 422-foot homer over the left-field bullpen. It was Butler's 17th blast of the season.

Coleman's walk to Munenori Kawasaki, who replaced the injured Ryan (bruised knee), opened the Mariners' fourth. Ichiro then tripled into the right-field corner for an 8-3 lead. When Coleman finished throwing 47 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, the Royals turned to Teaford in the fifth inning. He did well, giving up just one run on Ackley's sixth-inning home run, the fifth of the game.

Vargas worked six innings, yielding to right-hander Shawn Kelley, who lasted long enough to get two outs and give up back-to-back singles by Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar. Lefty Oliver Perez arrived to face Hosmer, who foiled the strategy by pulling an RBI single to right field. That snapped a 0-for-12 skid by Hosmer.

There weren't many highlights for the Royals, but one came when right fielder Jeff Francoeur notched his ninth assist, throwing out Michael Saunders trying to advance to third from first base on an eighth-inning single by Kawasaki. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, deftly deking the runner, snatched the ball at the last moment and applied the tag.

When the evening was over, Sanchez was asked how long he thought he might have in the Royals' rotation.

"You've got to go ask the manager," Sanchez said.

Yost, however, was not yet ready to provide an answer.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.