KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez ripped a double off the wall in the ninth inning, scoring Whit Merrifield and Jarrod Dyson and giving the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
Merrifield doubled off Steve Cishek (2-5) leading off the inning, then Kendrys Morales got plunked on the foot. Dyson came in to pinch run and Eric Hosmer struck out before Perez dug in to face the Mariners’ closer
He lined a shot off the wall in center for his second career game-ending hit.
Brooks Pounders (1-0) tossed a scoreless inning for his first big league win, helping Kansas City bounce back after a dismal road trip, during which they were swept in Toronto and lost five of their last six games.
The ending squandered a dynamic performance by James Paxton, who needed only 78 pitches to get through eight innings for Seattle. The only damage he allowed came on a two-out single by Paulo Orlando in the eighth.
Danny Duffy nearly equaled his left-handed counterpart in 6 1/3 innings for Kansas City. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk, his first in 88 batters faced, while striking out seven.
He received a standing ovation after leaving the mound, despite the Royals facing a 2-0 hole.
Seattle managed that meager lead not with a homer — they entered the game tied for second in the majors with 128 of them — but with some old-fashioned small ball. Dae-Ho Lee scored from second on Dan Robertson’s single in the second inning, and Robertson scored after a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Nelson Cruz added a homer off Joakim Soria in the eighth
Those three runs seemed insurmountable the way Paxton was cruising along.
He induced inning-ending double plays the first two innings, then another one in the third after back-to-back singles led it off. Ketel Marte then made a nice play ranging out from third base on Alex Gordon’s blooper into shallow left field to leave Brett Eibner on third base and end the inning.
The worst throw Paxton made before the eighth wasn’t to the mound but to first base, when Kendrys Morales chopped a grounder back to him the previous inning. Paxton’s throw slipped and bounced halfway to the bag.
With everything else going for him, it still beat Morales easily for the out.
The Royals are sending RHP Chris Young to the bullpen and will start RHP Dillon Gee or LHP Brian Flynn in Sunday’s series finale. Young is 2-8 with a 6.90 ERA in 15 appearances, 13 of them starts. He’s also given up a league-leading 26 home runs despite pitching many of his games at spacious Kauffman Stadium.
Royals RHP Kris Medlen has been shut down after straining his shoulder during a rehab outing. Medlen was 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA in six starts before going on the disabled list in May with rotator cuff inflammation. “He is going to be no-throw for a couple weeks,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
RHP Yordano Ventura returns for Kansas City on Friday night after spraining his right ankle running the bases in his last start in Philadelphia. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will oppose him for Seattle.