Friday night’s game started out so well for the KC Royals. Alex Gordon led off the game with a solo homerun off Seattle Mariners rookie starter Blake Beavan. Melky Cabrera followed with a triple and scored on Billy Butler’s ground out. They had a chance to score more, but with two outs and two men on base, Johnny Giavotella lined out to end the top of the first.
Royals starter Jeff Francis coughed the lead right up in the bottom of the first. With two outs and a man on first base, Francis threw a wild pitch. Then former Royal Miguel Olivo hit a ground-rule double to score the Mariners first run. Justin Smoak followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2.
Ichiro led off the bottom of the 3rd inning with a solo homerun. With two outs, Olivo hit a solo homerun. After a coaching visit, Francis allowed two straight hits. Salvador Perez then had a passed ball. Francis recovered to get Casper Wells to fly out to end the inning.
Just before Olivo hit his homerun, Dustin Ackley hit a homerun. Thing is, Jeff Francoeur is a really good right fielder. He made a leaping grab over the wall to rob Ackley of a homerun. Having a fan interfere with the ball didn’t faze Francoeur. Check out video of his grab HERE.
The 4th inning wasn’t any better for Francis. With one out, Alex Liddi doubled and Ichiro followed with an RBI single. For Liddi, it was his first Major League hit. Royals manager Ned Yost had seen enough, as Nate Adcock came on in relief (I guess Adcock’s not taking Danny Duffy’s spot in the rotation). Ichiro stole second base but Adcock struck out Brendan Ryan for the second out. Up came Ackley , who ripped a ball to right field. Francoeur made a sliding catch of a would be RBI double to end the inning.
The Mariners didn’t make it any easier for Adcock in the 5th inning. Olivo led off the inning with a triple and two more RBI hits followed. Adcock did rebound to strike out the side.
The Mariners had runners on base in every inning, but Adcock and reliever Jesse Chavez managed to keep them off the scoreboard. They also managed to keep Olivo off the bases the rest of the way, leaving him a single shy of the cycle.
In the 7th inning, it looked as though the Royals might mount a comeback against Beavan, who settled down after the first inning. With one out, Alcides Escobar tripled and Gordon drove him in with a single. That ended Beavan’s night, but Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley retired the next two hitters to end the inning.
The Royals had runners on base in both the 8th and 9th innings against Kelley and Jamey Wright, but couldn’t muster any clutch hits, as they lost 7-3.
Felipe Paulino will take the mound for the Royals on Saturday against Mariners hard-throwing rookie righty, Michael Pineda. With Adcock pitching on Friday night, it looks as though rookie lefty Everett Teaford will get the start in the finale on Sunday against the Mariners Anthony Vasquez. Teaford isn’t stretched out much, so the Royals will need a deep effort from Paulino on Saturday.