PEORIA, Ariz. – Hisashi Iwakuma allowed just 1 run over 5.2 innings of work, and Kyle Seager hit his first home run of the spring, as the Mariners knocked off the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, before a crowd of 9,017 on Friday afternoon at Peoria Stadium.
Iwakuma retired the first nine batters he faced and did not allow a base hit until the top of the 4th inning. In his 5th Cactus League start of the spring, Iwakuma allowed 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 4 in 5.2 innings pitched. Iwakuma’s outing marked the second straight game in which a Mariners starter pitched into the 6th inning and did not walk a batter.
The Mariners gave Iwakuma some early run support with three runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Minor league call-up Jay Baum led off with a double, and one batter later, Mitch Haniger followed with a double of his own to plate Baum with the first run of the game. Seager then belted a two-run home run, extending the Mariners lead to 3-0 over the Royals.
Haniger went 1-for-4 with 1 run, 1 double and 1 RBI. He has three doubles in his last four games and has now hit safely in seven straight games, batting .407 (11×27) with 4 runs, 4 doubles, 1 triple and 4 RBI in those 7 games.
Kansas City cut the Mariners lead to 3-1 with a solo home run in the top of the 5th. The Mariners pushed their lead to 3 runs again with a run in the bottom of the 7th. Mike Freeman began the inning with a single, and pinch-runner Joey Wong later scored on a throwing error to make it 4-1 in favor of the Mariners. The Royals made it a one-run game with a two-run home run in the top of the 9th, but Emilio Pagan hung on for his first save of the season.
Dan Altavilla came on in relief of Iwakuma with a runner aboard and two outs in the 6th inning. Altavilla halted the Royals rally in the 6th and struck out two in a scoreless 7th inning. Dean Kiekhefer got the first two outs in the 8th before giving way to minor leaguer Blake Perry, who stranded two Royals to end the frame. Pagan, making his first appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic, got two quick outs on a fly out and a strikeout but allowed a walk and a two-run home run as the Mariners lead shrunk to 4-3. The next batter reached on a walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Pagan got a fly out to Guillermo Heredia to end the game.
The Mariners (17-11) return to Cactus League play to face the Texas Rangers tomorrow (March 25) at 1:10 p.m. at Peoria Stadium. Left-hander Dillon Overton will make his 2nd start of the spring, 6th appearance, for the Mariners against Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez.
ROYALS 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 – 3 8 2
MARINERS 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 x – 4 5 0
W – Iwakuma (1-1); L – Duffy (0-1); SV – Pagan (1)
KC – Duffy, Herrera (7), Soria (8), Strahm (8) and Perez, Butera (7)
SEA – Iwakuma, Altavilla (6), Kiekhefer (8), Perry (8), Pagan (9) and Ruiz
Home Runs – KC: Orlando (2), Soler (2); SEA: Seager (1)
Attendance – 9,017 Time – 2:32