Mariners 6, Royals 5
(Kansas City, MO) Chaos ball is a phrase the Seattle Mariners and their fans use to describe their style of baseball. Weird late inning magic and just utter chaos as the game goes on has always seemed to go the Mariners way. They made need to look at utilizing the name the Chaos Cup for their games with the Kansas City Royals as the team met in another wild nail-biter in game three of their four-game series on Wednesday night. With both teams thin in the bullpen, it was all about which starter could last longer. Luckily for the M’s, Luis Castillo would win that battle and the Seattle bullpen was able to hold down a late inning lead for the Mariners as Seattle gained a game in the American League Wild Card race by defeating the Royals 6-5.
Kansas City opted to utilize an opener for this game and let James McArthur pitch the top of the 1st. It would not work out for the Royals. Julio Rodriguez led off the game with his 28th double of the season and moved to third on a groundout by Eugenio Suarez. The extra innings hero from Tuesday night continued to stay hot as Ty France drove in the first run of the game with a base hit to left field to score Julio and make it 1-0 Seattle. Cal Raleigh followed a Teoscar Hernandez strikeout with the big hit of the inning. Raleigh jumped all over a first pitch sinker and lined it out to right field for his 21st home run of the season. Raleigh’s two-run shot was also the 50th of his career, becoming the second fastest Mariner to reach 50 home runs only behind Alex Rodriguez by two games. The laser beam also gave Seattle a 3-0 lead before Luis Castillo even took the mound.
La Piedra was trying to exercise some demons after a very rough outing last September in Kansas City and while he was better, Castillo still didn’t have his best stuff. In the bottom of the 1st, Maikel Garcia also doubled to lead off the first inning for his 16th two-bagger of the season and also moved to third on a groundout by Bobby Witt Jr. Michael Massey followed with a fairly deep fly ball to right field that would be put away by Teoscar Hernandez. The fly ball was deep enough to score Garcia and got the Royals on the board trailing 3-1.
Castillo pitched out of some two out trouble to keep the Mariner lead at 3-1 after the 1st, but they would get that run right back in the top of the 2nd. Jose Caballero’s ninth double of the season came with one out and his 22nd stolen base put a runner on third with just the one out. Josh Rojas walked to put runners on the corners for Julio Rodriguez. J-Rod stayed scorching hot with an opposite-field groundball into right field. Caballero walked home on the RBI single and the lead was back up to three for the M’s at 4-1.
Seattle would leave the bases loaded in the top of the 2nd and Kansas City answered their one run with one of their own. Drew Waters fourth triple of the season began the inning as Kansas City continued to showcase their fantastic team speed. Castillo got Nelson Velazquez to pop out to Josh Rojas to keep Waters at third with one out but he wouldn’t stay there for long. Kyle Isbel skied a pop fly into left field where Cade Marlowe made the catch near the foul line. It was plenty deep enough to score Waters and make it 4-2 with the M’s still out in front.
Alec Marsh put up the first scoreless inning for the Royals in the top of the 3rd, but Luis Castillo couldn’t follow suit in the home half of the inning. With the bases empty and two outs, Kansas City put some pressure on Castillo. Salvador Perez took a pitch down and away and got it to drop into left field for a single. MJ Melendez followed with a double off the wall in center with the slow running Perez going on contact with two outs. The Mariner relay made it somewhat close, but Perez beat the throw to plate to score the two-out run to cut the Mariner lead down to just 4-3.
After that, Castillo settled down a bit but never looked like the Cy Young contender that he is. In the bottom of the 6th, Kansas City was right back to putting pressure on the Mariner ace. Back-to-back singles by MJ Melendez and Matt Beaty put runners on the corners with nobody out. Drew Waters then worked a walk to load the bases for Nelson Velazquez. Seattle would have to trade a run and the lead for a double play as Velazquez grounded out to Jose Caballero at short for a 6-4-3 double play, while Melendez scored to tie the game 4-4. Eugenio Suarez would come up with a big defensive play to help Castillo leave the go-ahead run stranded at third as Geno crashed into the railing over by the third base dugout to catch a pop up and end the inning with the game even.
Jose Caballero was picked off to end the top of the 7th while Luis Castillo pitched an easy 1-2-3 bottom of the 7th to keep the game tied. Dylan Coleman took over on the mound for the Royals in the 8th but his defense didn’t help him out. Dylan Moore began the inning with a chopper to third but the ball was booted by Maikel Garcia and Moore reached first on the error. A strikeout of Julio Rodriguez set the stage for a big AB for Eugenio Suarez and Suarez also made a big play with his bat. Geno sent a single to left after Dylan Moore stole second for a base hit. D-Mo got the stop sign at third and the Mariners had runners on the corners with one out. Ty France walked to load the bases for Teoscar Hernandez. Teo hit a weak fly ball in fall territory in right field and Nelson Velazquez made the catch. Moore tagged up from third and the throw to the plate made for a bang-bang play but Moore was called safe at the plate. Kansas City challenged the call, but the call was upheld and Seattle had the lead at 5-4.
After Gabe Speier pitched around a walk in the 8th, Seattle got an insurance run in the 9th. Back-to-back one out singles for Sam Haggerty and Jose Caballero put runners on first and second for Seattle. Dylan Moore then lined out but moved Haggerty to third to put runners on the corners for the M’s but with two outs. Julio Rodriguez stepped up again and recorded his third hit of the game to drive in a very important run. An inside out swing was good enough to get the ball into right field for a base hit. Haggerty scored but Caballero would be thrown out trying to get to third for the final out, but Seattle had extended their lead going into the bottom of the 9th to 6-4.
With a thin bullpen, Matt Brash would come on to pitch the final half inning for Seattle but it did not get off to a good start. Nelson Velazquez began the inning with his sixth home run of the season to make it a one-run game at 6-5. That also meant that Bobby Witt Jr. would get an at-bat in the inning. Brash settled in and got Kyle Isbel to fly out to Cade Marlowe in left and struck out Maikel Garcia looking with a beautiful fastball on the outside corner to put the Royals down to their last out. That last hope was Bobby Witt Jr. Fans of both teams moved to the edge of their seats for this big battle but it wouldn’t last long. A first pitch cutter just below the zone was chopped right back to Brash who snared hit with his glove. Brash flipped the ball to Ty France to retire Witt and end the ballgame. The Mariners had to sweat it out again, but they managed to give themselves an opportunity to win the four-game series thanks to a 6-5 win.
With such a chaotic series already, the Seattle Mariners (65-55) and Kansas City Royals (39-83) will conclude their four-game series on Thursday at 11:10am as the Mariners look to take three of four while the Royals will attempt to split the series. George Kirby (10-8, 3.11 ERA) will look to build upon his incredible start his last time out for the Mariners when he takes the ball in the finale. Kirby went nine shutout innings in his last start against Baltimore with just three hits allowed and no walks while striking out seven. Kirby had to settle for a no-decision while the Mariners lost in extra innings. Angel Zerpa (1-1, 7.71 ERA) will take the ball in the finale for Kansas City. It will be Zerpa’s first official start of the season as he had an opener his last time out as he is taking Zack Greinke’s spot in the rotation while Greinke nurses an injured elbow. Zerpa went four innings against the Cardinals in his first opportunity in the rotation for Greinke and allowed five runs on five hits while walking one and striking out two.
- Julio Rodriguez- 4-6, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 SB
- Cal Raleigh- 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, R
- Luis Castillo (W, 9-7)- 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
- MJ Melendez- 3-4, 2B, RBI, R
- Nelson Velazquez- 2-4, HR, RBI, R
- Alec Marsh (ND)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO