Strong starting pitching has helped the Mariners climb in the wild-card standings, as Seattle has won 25 of 38 since July 1, the second-best record in the American League over that span. The Mariners have won five straight road series and six of seven series overall.
Seattle starters are 40-34 overall and lead the majors with a 1.11 WHIP and a rate of 2.06 walks per nine innings. Before Logan Gilbert lasted just 4 1/3 innings in Kansas City on Monday, the Mariners made 16 straight starts of at least five innings, including eight quality starts.
Gilbert was charged with four runs on seven hits in a no-decision.
"Just felt a little bit off (today)," Gilbert said, according to the Seattle Times. "Had some deep counts and not getting ahead, I think that's the main thing. Usually good or bad, it all goes back to how well you do that."
Seattle trailed 5-0 before scoring four runs in the eighth inning and two in the ninth to take the lead. However, in the bottom of the ninth, Salvador Perez hit a game-tying sacrifice fly and Dairon Blanco lifted the Royals to a victory with a suicide-squeeze bunt.
"Heck of a comeback by our guys," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "We were down and out and didn't have a whole lot going offensively, but our guys don't quit."
The Mariners have lost three straight — each one a walk-off defeat.
Seattle's Emerson Hancock (0-0, 1.80 ERA) and Kansas City's Jordan Lyles (3-13, 6.13) are scheduled to face off on Tuesday in a matchup of right-handers.
Hancock is making his second career start. He allowed a run on two hits and three walks in a five-inning stint against the visiting San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
In 12 career appearances (10 starts) against the Mariners, Lyles is 2-5 with a 5.98 ERA. Eugenio Suarez and Teoscar Hernandez have each homered off Lyles, who went five innings, allowing five runs — four earned — on nine hits over five-plus innings in his most recent start against the Mariners, while pitching for the host Baltimore Orioles on June 2, 2022.
Lyles took the loss in his latest start, Wednesday at Boston, surrendering four runs on seven hits while hurling an eight-inning complete game. Lyles owns both of the Royals' complete games this season; both were losses.
Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. has hit safely in 14 of 15 games since July 28, batting .453 with 11 extra-base hits while leading the American League in total bases (54), and RBIs (21) during that stretch.
"I think we all know the power's there," Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. "It's to be expected, but not to be taken for granted that he's doing it at a young age."
Witt and Perez lead the club in two-out RBIs with 22.
"You saw it go hand-in-hand when (Witt) improved his approach at the plate, the power really started to come," Quatraro said. "He got himself in better counts, he saw more pitches, he feels more comfortable with his timing."
Witt also takes advantage of his speed. He leads the club with 34 steals, and his slicing liner to right on Monday got past right fielder Dominic Canzone for the Royals' first inside-the-park home run since Aug. 9, 2019.
After missing one game because of left upper-body discomfort, Kansas City's Maikel Garcia singled leading off the first inning on Monday, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games, a club record among rookies. It's the longest Royals' hitting streak since Whit Merrifield's franchise-record 31-game streak from Sept. 10, 2018, to April 10, 2019.
The Royals have lost six of nine.
—Field Level Media