SEATTLE — Move over, Minnesota.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The American League Central Division sublet its basement Friday night to the Royals after they extended their July collapse with a 6-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
And the Royals look like they’re here to stay. Right now, they’re not just losing. They’re not even competitive. Friday marked the third straight game they put themselves into a multi-run hole before the first inning ended.
“Them jumping out early again,” designated hitter Billy Butler said. “It’s pretty easy to play when you’re playing ahead. We’re battling, but it’s tough to always play from behind.”
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie – and, no, that acquisition isn’t yet working out – served up a three-run homer in the first inning to John Jaso. That came after a mental error by first baseman Eric Hosmer ignited the rally.
The bugler could have played taps at that point.
“Jeremy came out,” manager Ned Yost said, “and he wasn’t very good in the first two innings.”
That was enough.
This marked the Royals’ fifth loss in six games to Seattle in a 12-day span and, let’s face it, the Mariners aren’t doing this to anyone else. The Royals are getting overwhelmed by an attack that, generally, packs the punch of watered wine.
Seattle has 10 or more hits in six of its 15 games since the All-Star break.
Yep, all six games against the Royals.
Seattle starter Blake Beavan, 6-6, allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. Lucas Luetge retired Hosmer for the final out in the seventh with two runners aboard. Josh Kinney and Brandon League finished up.
“It was just a struggle for us all night,” Butler said. “Beavan threw a good game. He was throwing a lot of strikes and getting a lot of balls on the ground – and getting them whenever he needed them.”
The Mariners had 11 hits, including two apiece by Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Mike Carp and Brendan Ryan. One of Carp’s hits was a leadoff homer in the sixth that closed the scoring.
Billy Butler had two of the Royals’ four hits after getting their only two hits in Thursday’s 4-1 loss in the series opener. The Royals lost for the 19th time in 25 games and, at 41-58, fell into a tie with Minnesota for last place in the AL Central.
This was Guthrie’s second start since arriving from Colorado a week earlier in a trade for lefty Jonathan Sánchez. Guthrie, 0-2, gave up six runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings; he gave up five runs and four hits in five innings last Sunday in a loss to Minnesota.
“They haven’t been good (starts),” Guthrie said. “Today was better (for being) in the strike zone. No walks. But a couple of unexecuted pitches were the difference, and it’s seemed to be the difference most of the year.”
Guthrie’s problems started in the first inning when Hosmer chose to race Michael Saunders to first after fielding a one-out grounder. Guthrie was in position for a flip and an easy out, but…sigh.
Replays suggested Hosmer beat Saunders to the base, but it was close. A flip to Guthrie would have been an easy out.
Saunders raced to third when Montero looped a single to left before Jaso crushed a 1-0 fastball for a three-run homer. That quickly, the Royals trailed 3-0
“The home run was obviously the big blow,” Guthrie said. “I was trying to go in, and it was up (and in the) middle. He got on top of it and hit it out.”
The Royals got one run back in the second after Butler led off with a single and moved to third on two wild pitches. Mike Moustakas fouled out to third, but Salvy Perez delivered a sacrifice fly to right.
Guthrie then gave up two more runs in the second.
Ryan led off with a single past Moustakas at third and scored on Ackley’s double into the right-center gap. Ackley went to third on Saunders’ grounder to second and, after Guthrie hit Montero, scored on Jaso’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Royals mounted a threat in the fifth, which started when Beavan hit Moustakas with a pitch. Perez followed with a single, but Jeff Francoeur and Hosmer each struck out on three pitches before Chris Getz flied to left.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.