NINTH INNING: After eight easy inning, you know you can count of Fernando Rodney for some quality drama, right? Never fear: After walking two, Rodney struck out Butler on an 0-2 changeup. Salvador Perez then grounded into a fielder’s choice to end it. M’s win 1-0.
EIGHTH INNING: Another easy inning for Iwakuma. Through eight, he’s allowed just four singles, with seven strikeouts and no walks on 93 pitches. … Nothing for the M’s in the bottom half — and here comes Fernando Rodney to try close it out. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
SEVENTH INNING: A perfect throw by Zunino (after pitch in the dirt) nailed Gordon on attempted seal of second to end the top of the inning. … Duffy hit Seager in the back with an off-speed pitch to start the bottom of the inning, which ended Duffy’s day. James Jones, pinch-hitting for Gillespie, then sacrificed Seager to second against Royals right-hander Kelvin Herrera. Brad Miller lined out to center and Zunino grounded out to third to end the threat. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
SIXTH INNING: Iwakuma worked around a two-out single by Aoki by striking out Hosmer on a high, 90-mph fastball to end the top of the inning. … Hart hit a deep fly to straightaway center, but Cain tracked it down on the track. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
FIFTH INNING: The Killer ‘Kuma is out tonight: no runs, two hits, three strikeouts and no walks (on just 59 pitches) through five for the M’s right-hander in his first home start of the season. … Duffy struck out Zunino and Saunders looking, and Moustakas made a nice diving stop to get Romero for the final out. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
FOURTH INNING: Eric Hosmer has the Royals’ only two hits off Iwakuma tonight, including a leadoff single in the fourth. Billy Butler then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Salvador Perez grounded out weekly to Cano. … M’s go down quietly in the bottom of the fourth. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
THIRD INNING: Another easy inning for Iwakuma, with Robinson Cano making a nice, running play on a grounder to get Aoki to end the top of the inning. … On Duffy’s first pitch, Mike Zunino hit a 92 mph fastball off the wall in left-center. Saunders sacrificed him to third. Romero struck out, and Cano was intentionally walked. Corey Hart then came through with a sharp, two-out single to score Zunino. Mariners 1, Royals 0.
SECOND INNING: Iwakuma retired the Royals in order, extending his scoreless streak vs. the AL Central to 42.2 innings. … Cole Gillespie walked with two outs but Brad Miller struck out swinging at a 96 mph Duffy fastball to end the bottom of the second. Mariners 0, Royals 0.
FIRST INNING: M’s starter Hisashi Iwakuma entered tonight’s game vs. Royals with a streak of 40.2 scoreless innings vs. the AL Central. He extended that to 41.2 with a scoreless top of the first. Only two pitchers have had a longer scoreless streak against one division, according to the Mariners’ research: Orel Hershiser (55 IP vs. NL West in 1988) and Dave Stieb (42 IP vs. AL East in 1988-89). UPDATE: That stat dates to 1974.
Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the first with a four-pitch walk, but Danny Duffy got Stefen Romero, Robinson Cano and Corey Hart to fly out, stranding Saunders at first. Mariners 0, Royals 0.