The Mariners had an eight-game spurt snapped in a 1-0, 10-inning loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, and they lost the series finale 5-3 on Sunday, also in 10 innings
Thanks to their longest winning streak since a 14-game burst last July, Seattle is 18-10 since the All-Star break. The Mariners have pulled to within 1 1/2 games of the Toronto Blue Jays in the race for the American League's final wild-card spot
The club's surge is built on solid pitching. Seattle's 3.68 ERA leads baseball, helped by the bullpen earning five wins and five saves with a 1.44 ERA during the streak
"We needed to rely on some other guys in the bullpen tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais explained after a win on Aug. 6. "We've been running Munie (Andres Munoz) and (Matt) Brash and (Gabe) Speier really hard, so we needed some other guys to step up today, and they did.
Monday's series opener features a pair of starters enjoying winning streaks
Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert (10-5, 3.66 ERA) has not lost since June 28, going 5-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts. He pitched shutout baseball in two of those outings, including a one-hit, 12-strikeout performance in seven innings against visiting San Diego on Tuesday
"Against a really formidable lineup, to do what he did and how he did it, pretty impressive," Servais said. "It doesn't get much better than that. He had all of his pitches working. The split-finger has really made a huge difference for him, that along with the consistency of the slider.
In three previous starts against the Royals, Gilbert is 1-0 with a 6.19 ERA. Most recently, last Sept. 24, he escaped with a no-decision when he surrendered five runs in five innings in Kansas City. In eight at-bats against Gilbert, Salvador Perez has a homer and four RBIs
Going for Kansas City on Monday is right-hander Brady Singer (8-8, 5.05). Unbeaten since July 8, he is 3-0 with a 2.94 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. He beat Boston on Tuesday, allowing three runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings
In three career appearances against Seattle, including two starts, Singer is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA. In seven innings last Sept. 23, he gave up just one run and five hits -- a home run by Cal Raleigh
Injuries to Royals first basemen Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Pratto led to the longtime catcher Perez sharing time at first base, which in turn has given rookie Freddy Fermin opportunities behind the plate
"He's been pretty consistent for us," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "A little more power than I probably would have expected, but overall he's had really quality at-bats throughout.
"I'm learning every day," Fermin said after hitting a pair of home runs Aug. 5 at Philadelphia. "Creating a good plan, trying to hit and working in the cage and outside.
Since the All-Star break, Fermin has started 16 of the club's 28 games behind the plate, and he is hitting 354 with five homers and nine RBIs
--Field Level Medi