Say this ... the Royals went down on a knockout blow Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium.
Kendrys Morales crushed a two-out fastball from Aaron Crow for a two-run homer in the ninth inning for the winning runs.
“One mistake can hurt you,” Crow said, “and that’s what happened. I just left it over the plate.”
Morales sent a 97-mph heater on a 1-2 pitch from Crow soaring 414 feet to center field and easily over the wall.
“It was a fastball,” Morales said through an interpreter. “I was very prepared.”
The loss ended the Royals’ three-game winning streak and made their long-shot drive to secure a postseason berth for the first time in 28 years a little more of a long shot.
“It was a tough game,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “Their bullpen came in and did a great job. It was one pitch, one mistake. That’s baseball. We’ve got to come back (Thursday). ... We’ve just got to win the series.”
Crow, 7-5, inherited a 4-4 tie to start the ninth but issued a one-out walk to Franklin Gutierrez after jumping ahead 1-2 in the count. Crow retired Kyle Seager on a fly to center before Morales unloaded.
“I was up 1-2 on Gutierrez,” Crow said, “and you’ve got to put him away in that situation. The home run is what lost the game, but up 1-2 in that situation, you’ve got to put that guy away.
“If he gets out, then Morales doesn’t even get up.”
Lucas Luetge, 1-2, got the victory after working two scoreless innings. Danny Farquhar breezed through a one-two-three ninth for his 12th save.
It was a tough loss.
The Royals erased a four-run deficit in the fourth against Seattle rookie Taijuan Walker but managed just one runner, on a walk, over the final five innings.
“We got all four hits and all four runs in that inning,” manager Ned Yost said. “That was it. We faced some good arms today.”
The Royals, 72-67, fell temporarily five games behind Tampa Bay in the chase for the American League’s final wild-card berth. The Rays played later Wednesday at Los Angeles.
Seattle roughed up Royals starter Ervin Santana for four runs and seven hits in a season-worst 31/3 innings. His winless streak is now at six starts after giving up two runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight,” he said, “but I’ll just get them next time. ... I’ve been pitching good. That’s the only thing that matters. If I don’t win, and we have a chance to win, that’s good for me.”
Walker breezed through three innings before blowing a four-run lead in the fourth inning. He worked through the fifth before the Mariners went to their bullpen.
The Royals flashed some defense after the Mariners mounted a two-out threat against Santana in the first inning. Seager flared a single to left and tried to score when Morales pulled a pulled a double past first.
Hosmer took the throw from right fielder David Lough and threw home to Salvy Perez, who applied the tag for the final. Seager and the Mariners believed he avoided the tag.
Santana wasn’t as fortunate in the third.
Mike Zunino led off with a soft single to center before moving to third on Nick Franklin’s double into the right-center gap. Zunino scored on Brad Miller’s sacrifice fly to deep center.
Franklin Gutierrez’s soft chopper past first turned into an RBI single against a drawn-in infield for a 2-0 lead.
The Mariners came back for more in the fourth after Raul Ibañez led off with a double into the right-field corner. Santana walked Justin Smoak before Dustin Ackley’s grounder to second turned into a force.
A walk to Zunino loaded the bases before Franklin lined a single into center for a 3-0 lead — and that finished Santana.
The Royals called on Wade Davis for his first relief appearance of the year ... with the bases loaded and one out. Davis’ second offering was a run-scoring wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.
Emilio Bonifacio started a four-run answer later in the inning with a leadoff walk. The Royals then got their first hit when Hosmer drove a single to right.
Billy Butler followed with an RBI single before fly outs by Mike Moustakas and Perez scored Hosmer. David Lough’s double moved Butler to third before Jarrod Dyson chopped a two-run single up the middle.
The Royals were even at 4-4, which is how it stayed until the ninth.
“It wasn’t the Morales at-bat as much as it was the (Gutierrez) at-bat,” Yost said. “You get in a situation where you’re in control of the at-bat, that’s the guy you want to put away so you don’t have to face a guy like Morales.”