Seattle comes in with a 10-game home-run hitting streak, having hit 18 homers in that span and the question is: how?
Franklin Gutierrez has 14 home runs and Jose Lopez 20. Combined, the rest of today’s Mariners lineup has 19.
What’s amazing is that in the last six games, the Mariners have gone 5-1 and done it without Ichiro Suzuki, without much of Ken Griffey Jr. and without Adrian Beltre.
They still don’t have those three players available – and now they’re without Russell Branyan.
Oh, and did we mention they’re facing Zach Greinke today?
It’s Greinke vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith and the Mariners mystey offense.
You like pitching?
Rowland-Smith has come out serious, and used just 26 pitches to set the Royals down the first two innings.
Greinke? He’s hit 93 mph on the radar gun, and thrown a changeup clocked at 70 mph – both for strikes.
The Royals have one hit, an opposite-field, pop fly single. The Mariners have had two base runners: Bill Hall worked Greinke for a 3-2 walk and Kenji Johjima singled with two outs.
You get the feeling if either pitcher has a bad inning, he’s going to lose on tha alone. And a bad inning today might be two runs.
First mistake loses?
Alberto Callaspo hit a fly ball to left field that Michael Saunders lost in the sun – it went over his head for a gift double – and Miguel Olivo singled Callaspo home wih one out.
If he sees it, Saunders catches the ball. Now, the Mariners are down to a Cy Young Award candidate who should probably have 18 wins already.
Rowland-Smith gave up a single and a two-out walk, then an RBI single to David DeJesus – and wild-pitched home a third run.
Greinke rolls on
Don’t look now, but Greinke has retired the last 13 Mariners and allowed just one hit in six innings.
In the seventh: Royals 3, Mariners 0
And in the ninth
Rowland-Smith got through eight innings with 113 pitches, allowing three runs and saving the Seattle bullpen for the Angels series. Most games, he’d have been in position to win. Not today.
The right-hander started the ninth with 101 pitches – and his first pitch to Saunders was a 94 mph fastball.
Saunders flied out. Franklin Gutierrez struck out. Josh Wilson grounded out.
It’s a final: Royals 3, Mariners 0