Mariners 10, Royals 8 (10)
(Kansas City, MO) Normal games just don’t happen when the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals take the field with one another and Tuesday night was another instance of weird baseball. One night after the Royals blew a late lead just to get the walkoff win, the Mariners would flip the script on the Royals. A blown lead in the 9th had Mariner fans all questioning the team and some decisions, but Seattle would end up fighting through to defeat the Royals in extra innings in a high-scoring affair, 10-8.
Nothing really happened in this game until the top of the 4th when all of a sudden the Mariner bats came to life in a big way. Eugenio Suarez led off the inning facing Jordan Lyles and it didn’t take long for Geno to win the battle. The first pitch of the inning was a fastball up and in in the zone and Suarez cranked it to deep left for his 17th home run of the season. The solo bomb made it 1-0 M’s, but they weren’t even close to done in the inning. Two pitches later, Lyles hung a sweeper right in the middle of the plate to Ty France and the Mariner first baseman gave it a ride down the left field line. France was able to keep it fair for another solo home run and his 10th of the season. The back-to-back jacks got the Mariners a 2-0 lead, but this was still just the tip of the iceberg in this inning.
Lyles ended up walking the next batter in Cal Raleigh on just four pitches before Teoscar Hernandez stepped into the batter’s box. Teo was seeing the ball very well on this night and got a fastball on the outer half and smoked it to right center. Off the bat, it wasn’t obvious if the ball had enough height to get over the wall, but it indeed had enough as Teo circled the bases with his 18th long ball of the year. The two-run shot doubled the Mariner lead to 4-0. A couple more mistakes by Lyles got him in more trouble as he dropped the ball, literally, covering first to allow Dominic Canzone to reach and then threw a wild pitch to move Canzone to second before recording the first out of the inning. Jose Caballero pulled a soft line drive down the left field line for his first hit of the game. Caballero cruised into second for his seventh double as Canzone scored to make it 5-0. Josh Rojas continued his very hot stretch as of late and put the cherry on top of the big inning for the Mariners. Rojas jumped all over a cutter up and in and pulled it well over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. For the third time in franchise history, the Mariners hit four or more home runs in an inning and jumped all over Kansas City for a 7-0 lead.
For as good as the top of the 4th was for the Mariners, the bottom of the 5th was almost as good for the Royals. Making the second start of his career, Emerson Hancock had just one hiccup on his day but it allowed Kansas City to get back in the game. Singles by MJ Melendez, Matt Beaty, and Kyle Isbel loaded the bases with two outs for Kansas City. Maikel Garcia then snuck a grounder through the left side of the infield to come up with a clutch base hit to get Kansas City on the board with an RBI single to make it 7-1. With the bases still loaded, the Garcia single turned out to be a bigger deal than initially expected as Bobby Witt Jr. came to the plate. Kansas City had only one grand slam this season coming into this one. After the game, they’d have two and both were by Bobby Witt Jr. Witt drove a fastball at the bottom of the zone over the wall in left center for his 23rd home run of the season. The grand slam brough the crowd back to life as all of a sudden the Kansas City deficit was just 7-5.
Kansas City’s bullpen has been the second worst bullpen in baseball, just behind the A’s and while they weren’t perfect, they only really had one blunder in this one. An Eugenio Suarez walk allowed by Max Castillo seemed harmless enough especially after Kyle Isbel made a diving catch to take a hit away from Cal Raleigh for the second out. Teoscar Hernandez reminded everyone just how good of a hitter he can be as he put together his best game as a Mariner in this one. Teo smoked his 21st double of the season to center field and with Geno going on contact with two outs he was able to score easily. Teo was just a triple away from the cycle and the Mariner lead was up to 8-5.
Seattle would tiptoe out of danger in the bottom of the 8th, but a massive meltdown came in the final inning. After recording the final two outs of the 8th, Andrés Muñoz stayed on to pitch the bottom of the 9th as well. A routine ground ball off the bat of Nelson Velasquez turned into disaster as a terrible throw by Josh Rojas at second resulted in an E4 and the leadoff man reaching base. Drew Waters then flew out to left and Seattle was a grounder away from ending the game. Samad Taylor was able to lay off a couple of two strike pitches just off the plate to draw a walk and bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Maikel Garcia did hit a groundball, but Rojas was not able to beat the runner to the bag at second and settled for just one out at first. With runners on second and third with two outs, Bobby Witt Jr. came to the plate representing the tying run. He would walk to bring Michael Massey to the plate as the winning run. Muñoz was clearly tired at this point with a rising pitch count but in a controversial decision, Scott Servais opted to keep Muñoz out there instead of bringing in Tayler Saucedo for a lefty-lefty matchup. That decision cost Servais as Massey lined a base hit to center field. Two runs came into score to make it 8-7 with runners on first and second and the very dangerous Salvador Perez coming to the plate. Again, Servais kept Muñoz on the mound and Perez made them pay again. He caught up to a 98-mph fastball at the top of the zone and muscled it into left field. Witt was able to score, but pinch runner Dairon Blanco did not hustle all the way and was tagged out at third just after Witt scored. That meant the run counted but the inning was over as the game was all of a sudden tied 8-8 and headed to extra innings.
Tucker Davidson was the next man out of the bullpen for Kansas City with Cade Marlowe starting the inning at second. Jose Caballero fell behind 0-2, but Davidson made a massive mistake and hit Caballero to put him on first as well. Sam Haggerty hit for Josh Rojas and laid down a fantastic bunt but was just thrown out at first for the first out while Marlowe and Caballero both moved up 90-feet. Julio Rodriguez was put on via the intentional walk to bring Eugenio Suarez to the plate. Suarez couldn’t catch up to any of Davidson’s fastballs and struck out swinging for a big second out. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ty France wasted no time in the game deciding at-bat. France smacked a grounder back up the middle and into center field for a base hit. Marlowe and Caballero both scored easily as France came through with two outs to give the M’s a 10-8 lead.
Tayler Saucedo finally came in to pitch the bottom of the 10th with a two-run lead and a non-speedy runner in Salvador Perez starting at second. An MJ Melendez fly out to Julio in center kept Perez at second with one out. Freddy Fermin grounded out to Jose Caballero at short for the second out and Nelson Velazquez coming to the plate. Saucedo would get the job done in extras again as Velazquez grounded out to Caballero as well for the final out as Seattle avoided a complete meltdown to salvage a 10-8 win in game two.
With four straight nail-biters in the rearview mirror, Seattle (64-55) will try to earn a stressless victory in game three of the series on Wednesday at 5:10pm. It will be the Angel Hernandez experience as the infamous umpire will be behind the plate for the third game of the four-game series. On the mound for the Mariners will be Luis Castillo (8-7, 3.14 ERA) who will try to rid himself of Kauffman Stadium demons. Castillo is 0-1 with a 4.60 ERA in his career at Kauffman and was the starting pitcher when the Mariners blew an 11-2 lead to the Royals last season. James McArthur (0-0, 13.50 ERA) will serve as the opener for the Royals in the first start of his career. He will likely just go an inning or two before turning the ball over to Alec Marsh (0-6, 6.27 ERA) who will do a bulk of the pitching for Kansas City.
- Teoscar Hernandez- 5-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R
- Ty France- 4-6, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R
- Emerson Hancock (ND)- 5 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO
- Bobby Witt Jr.- 1-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB
- Michael Massey- 3-5, 2 RBI
- Jordan Lyles (ND)- 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO