Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Seattle0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 131
Kansas City2 0 1 0 1 0 0 4 x 8150
  W: K. Bubic (5-6)   L: Y. Kikuchi (7-9)
4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, September 18, 2021
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri  Attendance: 20,085

Mariners can't afford slip-up against Royals

According to STATS
According to STATS

Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals

  1. The Royals took three of four in Seattle from August 26-29 this season, with all four games decided by two runs or fewer. However, the Mariners have won six straight games at Kaufmann Stadium dating back to April 2018, their longest active road winning streak against a single opponent.
  2. The Mariners have dropped six of their last nine games after winning six of their previous seven dating back to the series finale against the Royals on August 29. Seattle's .374 slugging percentage this month is sixth-lowest in MLB and fourth-lowest in the AL.
  3. Jarred Kelenic is batting .235 (12-for-51) in 13 September games after hitting .151 in his first 64 games this season. He has 67 strikeouts in 54 games since July 1, third most among AL rookies behind Texas' Adolis Garcia (85) and the Angels' Brandon Marsh (77).
  4. Chris Flexen is 5-1 in 12 road starts this season but has a .293 opponent average away from Seattle, sixth highest in the American League (min. 250 batters faced). He has not lost a road start since May 21 at San Diego.
  5. Kansas City dropped two of three to Oakland this week and are two losses away from a fifth straight losing season. That would be tied for the longest losing season streak in MLB, though the Angels could have a longer streak with eight more losses this season.
  6. Salvador Perez hit his 45th home run of the season in Thursday's loss, tied with Johnny Bench (1970) for the most home runs by a catcher in a single season. Carlos Santana ranks second on the Royals with just 19 home runs -- on pace to be the largest gap between the top two homerun-hitters in Royals franchise history.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/17/2021 thru 9/19/2021

After spoiling Jonathan Heasley's major league debut Friday night, the Seattle Mariners will pursue another road victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

The Royals (66-81) and Mariners (79-68) will square off in the second game of a three-game series with Seattle looking to keep its postseason hopes alive while Kansas City focuses on the future.

The Mariners will send Yusei Kikuchi (7-8, 4.23 ERA) to the mound to face Kris Bubic (4-6, 4.99) in a battle of left-handers.

Heasley became the fifth Royals pitcher selected in the 2018 draft to appear for the big-league club. Kansas City became the first club in major league history to have five pitchers from the same draft class start a game in the same season for the team that selected them.

He joined Bubic, Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch.

Heasley's lone problem Friday was Jarred Kelenic. The Seattle center fielder hit a pair of two-run homers in the Mariners' 6-2 victory, accounting for all four runs Heasley yielded in his four-inning stint. He gave up six hits and no walks while striking out two.

Bubic is more experienced than Heasley, relatively speaking, having arrived in the majors in July 2020.

"I don't really consider myself so young anymore," he said. "I've had enough innings and experience that I think I can go out there and give the team a chance to win without any excuses."

Bubic has posted four straight no-decisions, including a start at Seattle on Aug. 27. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings in that contest, his first career appearance against the Mariners, allowing five runs on nine hits.

Bubic was excited to see Heasley's debut Friday night. He believes that watching the others from the 2018 draft succeed is motivation for each of them.

"I think intrinsically we're all competitors," he said. "We're all trying to get better every day, and we're trying to bring the best out of each other every day. You always want to follow up a good performance with another good performance. That's what good teams do."

The Mariners emerged with the victory Friday but made little headway in the American League wild-card race, as three of the four teams ahead of them also won. Seattle sits 3 1/2 games back of the New York Yankees, who hold the final AL playoff position.

Seattle manager Scott Servais knows that his team has to be ready for Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who leads the major leagues in RBIs (112) and ranks second in home runs (45). But that can't be their only focus.

"We spend a lot of time trying to prepare for Salvador Perez," he said. "He's had some kind of season. You can't get so locked in on him that you (ignore) the guys that hit ahead of him. You have to make sure you keep those guys off base and limit the damage he can do."

Kikuchi has lost two straight decisions and hasn't recorded a win in his past seven starts. He faced the Royals on Aug. 26 in Seattle, getting a no-decision after allowing four runs on four hits in five-plus innings.

In his latest start, he struck out eight batters and permitted only one run in five innings Sunday vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks, again in a no-decision.

Kikuchi credits Servais with his success.

"We sat down a couple times actually, and he mentioned to me that I didn't have to necessarily worry too much about the result of today," Kikuchi said. "He told me to just go out and compete and be aggressive. I think that advice helped a lot. Took a lot of weight off my shoulders."

Kikuchi is 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA in three career starts vs. the Royals.

--Field Level Media

Updated September 18, 2021