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Mariners aim to ride momentum into series sweep vs. Royals

Sportsnaut
Apr 23, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA;  Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France (23) is greeted by batting practice pitcher Nasusel Cabrera (89) after hitting a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners will try to harness some of their energy from an exciting game Saturday night as they vie for a three-game sweep over the visiting Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Royals will send right-hander Carlos Hernandez (0-0, 7.27 ERA) to the mound to face left-hander Robbie Ray (2-1, 4.19).

The Mariners squandered a big early lead on Saturday but came back to tie the game at 7-7 in the seventh inning. Then they exploded for six runs in the eighth inning en route to a 13-7 win.

Ty France recorded his first career five-hit game, highlighted by a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

“A really tough loss,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after the game. “You watched the guys fight. They fought really well to get us back into it and give us the lead. Unfortunately, we let it slip away. Sometimes you’re just going to have bad days.”

The Royals might be without All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the seventh inning. He stayed in the game to run the bases but didn’t come out for the bottom of the seventh. X-rays were negative, and Matheny didn’t offer an update following the game.

Ray has been both good and bad so far in his first season with the Mariners. In his two wins, he has allowed three earned runs on seven hits in 13 innings. In his loss on April 13 to the Chicago White Sox, he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Ray permitted two runs on four hits in six innings of his last start, a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

He credited his slider for his success in his last outing.

“I was able to get some swing-and-misses on it when I threw it in the zone,” he said. “They started to take it a little bit later in the game. It’s just an adjustment that I need to make. When teams get kind of passive toward the slider, I feel like when I throw it in the zone, it gets results as well.”

Seattle manager Scott Servais didn’t ignore Ray’s fastball.

“He’s got enough life on the fastball,” Servais said. “Even when it’s not bumping the fives and sixes, it’s got enough life. He’s deceptive, it plays up and it gets a lot of popups, easy outs, early-in-count outs, and that’s why he’s able to go deep into ballgames.”

The 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner has only faced Kansas City twice in his career. He hasn’t picked up a decision, but he has a 1.35 ERA (one earned run in 6 2/3 innings).

Hernandez did not factor into the decision in his most recent start, Kansas City’s 4-3 win versus Minnesota on Tuesday. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings.

Hernandez exited the game with the Royals trailing 3-1. Perez’s second home run of the game tied it before Hunter Dozier hit a go-ahead shot later in the sixth inning.

Hernandez was pitching to contact, as he walked just one. He did not record a strikeout for the first time in his 16 career starts.

In his only previous appearance vs. Seattle last Aug. 27, Hernandez retired the first 14 batters he faced and finished with 5 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. He received a no-decision despite allowing just one hit and recording six strikeouts.

–Field Level Media