Smoak, Saunders hit 2-run homers to lead Mariners past KC

Smoak, Saunders hit 2-run homers to lead Mariners past KC

Credit: Ed Zurga / Getty Images Sport

Smoak, Saunders hit 2-run homers to lead Mariners past KC

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 12:08 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- The Seattle Mariners' quick-strike offense has scored 13 runs in the first two innings in winning their first two games at Kansas City.

Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders each hit two-run homers and the Mariners beat the Royals 9-6 Tuesday night.

Every Mariners starter had at least one hit. Jesus Montero went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs.

Smoak homered with Montero aboard in the three-run first inning. It was the second straight game Smoak homered in the first. Montero's double scored Casper Wells with the first run.

"Those guys are swinging the bats well, too, so we're going to have score some runs," Smoak said.  "It was good to get on the board early.”

The Mariners, who scored seven runs in the first two innings Monday, added three more runs in the second inning.

"It's good any time the offense goes out there and puts up early runs like that," said winning pitcher Blake Beavan. "It gives you more confidence to go out there and get them back in the dugout and let them keep swinging it.”

Saunders homered in the fifth inning off Vin Mazzaro after Miguel Olivo singled to give the Mariners a 9-3 cushion.

"When you set the tone early like that and give yourself some breathing room, it allows our young players to go out there and relax and play and work to their true abilities a little bit easier," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We've had some guys that have been struggling and working to find it. It's been nice to see them put some consistent days together. It's nice to see us swing the bats like that.”

The Mariners' three-run second chased left-hander Ryan Verdugo, who was making his big league debut. Kyle Seager doubled home two runs, while Montero singled in the other run.

Beavan (4-6), who was just recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, worked six-plus innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He logged his first victory
since May 30 after going 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in two June starts, which merited a demotion to the Pacific Coast League.

Verdugo (0-1) yielded six runs on eight hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings.

"I got those first two outs and I was trying to take a deep breath," Verdugo said. "The game is different up here. It's much quicker.

"I left the ball up a little.  I might have been a little too amped up.  I was nervous on the drive up here, but it didn't really affect me," Verdugo added. "I just really didn't execute pitches too well.  I just left a few pitches up and they took advantage.  I know I still have to go out and execute.”

Tim Wilhelmsen worked a spotless ninth for his eighth save in 10 opportunities. Wilhelmsen has not allowed a run in 23 innings over his past 19 games.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley to cut the lead to 9-6.

Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon hit back-to-back triples in Kansas City's three-run third.

The Royals have lost 12 of 15 to fall a season-low 13 games below .500. They are 15-27 at Kauffman Stadium, the worst home record in the majors.

NOTES: Mariners LHP Charlie Furbush retired the only batter he faced in the
seventh, but left with left triceps tightness. "I don't think it's anything serious," Wedge said. "We didn't want to push it. "...The Royals designated for assignment LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who was 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA, and optioned OF Jason Bourgeois to Triple-A Omaha. .The Mariners optioned RHP Steve Delabar, who was 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in 30 relief appearances, to Triple-A Tacoma. . LHP
Bruce Chen, who is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA and his lone big league save in 11 career
outings against the Mariners, will start Wednesday for the Royals. Chen's former
Braves teammate, RHP Kevin Millwood, will start for Seattle.
 

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