ADDITONAL NOTE: Brendan Ryan left the game in the second inning with a contusion on his left kneecap after fouling a ball off it. Munenori Kawasaki has replaced him at shortstop.
Seattle added a run in the sixth on a solo homer by Dustin Ackley before the Royals came back with one in the seventh to make it a 9-4 game. Seattle is actually being outhit 10-9 at this point, but that’s what three home runs and two triples will help you accomplish scoring-wise if you’re the M’s.
6:51 p.m.: Ichiro helped Seattle get a run back in the fourth inning by hitting a triple to the right field corner. That scored Munenori Kawasaki from first base — he’d drawn a leadoff walk — and gave Seattle an 8-3 lead.
The Royals loked like they’d get it back in the bottom of the frame when Yuniesky Betancourt led things off with the 250th double of his career. But with one out, Betancourt tagged and tried to take third on a flyout to left and was thrown out by Casper Wells.
6:27 p.m.: Jason Vargas might not have a no-trade clause involving the Kansas City Royals. But he just did the equivalent of exercising one the way he pitched the third inning. Vargas yielded home runs No. 24 and 25 to Salvador Perez and Billy Butler in that third inning, the latter a two-run rocket that cut Seattle’s lead to 7-3.
Vargas also allowed two walks and two singles in the inning and really isn’t pitching very well at all tonight. Good thing for the M’s that Jonathan Sanchez pitched brutally for KC or this might be a much closer game.
8:04 p.m.: The Mariners used Jonathan Sanchez for batting practice over an inning and a third and now lead it 7-0. Casper Wells hit a two-run triple off Sanchez in the second inning to finish the pitcher off and up his RBI total to a career-best five — so far. We’ve still got seven innings to go and Wells is just a single and double away from hitting for the cycle.
Sanchez was about one pitch away from a lynch mob after the Wells hit but manager Ned Yost got him out of there. Yost got a standing ovation as he walked to the mound and Sanchez then a thunderous crescendo of boos as he left. Not sure what’s happened to Sanchez, who was once an up-and-coming star with the Giants.
He entered this game with a 1-5 record and a 6.75 ERA and I can tell you that, 50 pitches later, the ERA is a whole lot worse.
5:20 p.m.: Jonathan Sanchez of the Royals has struggled all year and got hit real hard by the Mariners in the first inning. A three-run homer by Casper Wells and a two-run blast by Justin Smoak made it 5-0 before Sanchez had even recorded an out. He finally got one on a Kyle Seager grounder and the Kauffman Stadium crowd let Sanchez have it in their mocking best tone.
Sanchez was once a highly-touted young arm dealt to KC by the Giants in the Melky Cabrera deal. Looking like Giants got the better of that swap. They could be playoff-bound while the Royals? A lot of young talent, but plenty short in the results department so far.
4:30 p.m.: Well, the whole “hitting at home” thing didn’t work, so the Mariners will once again try to take their show on the road and generate better results. For the next four days, they’ll face the Kansas City Royals — a team some pegged as a playoff darkhorse this season in predictions that don’t appear as if they’ll come true.
We’ll see Jason Vargas pitch tonight as rumors swirl that other teams are looking at him ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.