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March 24, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Kansas City Royals at Mariners: March 24, 2011 game thread

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Michael Saunders hit a two-run homer and Matt Tuiasosopo doubled home a run and scored another in a wild ninth. But the M’s still lose, 9-8.
Geoff Baker Live! coming up in 15 minutes.

Jamey Wright just rolled through a 1-2-3 eighth inning, getting a flyball out, a groundout and then a called strikeout on Irving Falu. Not everyday you see a baseball player named Irving anymore.
So, a good day for Wright, expected to be one of the non-roster guys making the team. But the M’s still trail, 8-4, as we head to the bottom of the eighth.
2:44 p.m.: Royce Ring was looking real good right up until he failed to put Billy Butler away with a third strike. Butler took a close pitch for ball four with two out, then watched Melky Cabrera park the next offering just beyond the fence in left center.
So, it’s now an 8-4 game, with the Royals having scored eight runs the last three innings.
Of those eight, five have come after walks. One was on a double and two were on home runs.
Ring had gotten two quick outs, fielding a bunt to his left and making a throw to first on Jarrod Dyson, then striking out Lance Zawadzki. But that’s where the fun stopped.
2:28 p.m.: Doug Fister just couldn’t stop the bleeding in the sixth and now trails 6-4 after taking a 4-0 lead into the fifth. The Royals scored five in the fifth on the strength of a pair of two-run homers, two doubles and a single.
The homers came from Lance Zawadski and Alex Gordon, while the doubles by Wilson Betemit and Pedro Feliz added another run. Fister is getting his innings in, but the Royals sure got their licks in that last frame.
2:20 p.m.: We’re seeing a bit of why Doug Fister is a No. 3 starter by technicality only. In reality, his stuff is what fifth starters are made of. Fister simply can’t afford to put guys on base because when he misses up in the zone, he can get crushed, as we’ve seen in what is now a 5-4 game, the Royals ahead.
It happened in the fifth inning when Pedro Felix doubled home a run after a walk and it just repeated in the sixth. Jarrod Dyson drew a leadoff walk and then Lance Zawadski drove a ball over the 410-foot sign in center for a two-run homer.
One out later, Alex Gordon popped one out to right center.
So, all of a sudden, it’s a 4-4 game. Fister had been pitching well. But those walks ahead of some well-hit balls have come back to haunt him.
2:08 p.m.: The Royals got on the board in the fifth to close the gap to 4-1. Pedro Feliz doubled to the gap in left center on a ball that looked like it might clear the wall at one point. That scored Brayan Pena all the way from first after he’d drawn a two-out walk.
Doug Fister won’t be happy with that walk. He’ll be the first to tell you: when he puts guys on base for free, bad things can follow.
The double by Michael Saunders in the third was a good thing to see, since it also went to left center. Saunders has been having trouble getting to pitches on the outside, so to see him go the other way with that one, you’d have to think he’s getting better coverage with that new swing of his.
1:58 p.m.: Doug Fister is pitching the best we’ve seen all spring, taking a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning. Fister allowed a single in the first to Lance Zawadzki that was erased on a double-play grounder.
There have been just two other baserunners for the Royals — reaching on a walk and an error.
Seattle scored all of its runs in the third inning. Back-toback doubles by Michael Saunders and Josh Wilson — two guys needing to show some offense — got the M’s on the scoreboard and then Adam Moore knocked another run in with a single.
Ichiro then doubled to put runners at second and third. A ground ball to the right side by Chone Figgins got one run in and then a sac fly from Milton Bradley plated the fourth and final marker of the inning.
1:05 p.m.: The speedy Royals made life difficult for Felix Hernandez last week. Let’s see whether or not Doug Fister can contain them. A big key will be keeping leadoff man Jarrod Dyson off base.
You’ve got Michael Saunders in center today. The M’s could need him there next week in Oakland if Franklin Gutierrez goes on the DL.
The lineups:
CF Jarrod Dyson
SS Lance Zawadski
1B Billy Butler
RF Melky Cabrera
LF Alex Gordon
DH Wilson Betemit
C Brayan Pena
3B Pedro Feliz
2B Irving Falu
LHP Bruce Chen
RF Ichiro
3B Chone Figgins
DH Milton Bradley
1B Justin Smoak
LF Matt Tuiasosopo
2B Luis Rodriguez
CF Michael Saunders
SS Josh Wilson
C Adam Moore
RHP Doug Fister

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