Mariners 4, Royals 1
Jason Vargas is hearing discussions of his departure second-hand.
As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, Vargas is doing plenty to get his name onto the tongues of general managers desperate for pitching down the stretch.
Vargas has grown as a pitcher since coming to Seattle after being acquired from the New York Mets in a three-team, 12-player trade Dec. 10, 2008. And, he doesn't want to leave.
''This has really been my first home in the big leagues,'' Vargas said. ''I was given a lot of opportunity here, and I'm thankful that I've taken advantage of it and thankful that they kept giving me opportunity. I hope that what I can do out on the field is worth them keeping me here.''
Vargas (11-7) allowed only a fourth-inning double - when Billy Butler swung at a 3-0 pitch - struck out five and walked three.
He retired the first 11 batters he faced before Butler's 200th career double drove in Lorenzo Cain in the fourth. Vargas had walked Cain, then fell behind 3-0 before Butler drilled a fastball to the gap in left-center.
Kansas City did not get a runner to second base against Vargas after the fourth inning. He's taken the mound following a Mariners loss in 14 of his 22 starts this season and has a 10-2 record with a 2.76 ERA in those games. He's 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in five July starts.
''Obviously it means you're doing all right if they're talking about other teams wanting you, but this is where I want to stay,'' Vargas said.
Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza (4-7) pitched five innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs with three walks and a hit batter.
Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.
Consecutive sixth-inning doubles from Miguel Olivo and Carlos Peguero pushed Seattle's lead to 4-1. After getting ahead of Brendan Ryan 0-2, Mendoza walked Ryan on four consecutive breaking balls in the dirt, one of which was a wild pitch that moved Peguero to third. That ended Mendoza's night and put the Mariners in business with first and third and no outs.
Mendoza found trouble early when the Mariners piled three hits and a hit batter together for two runs in the first. Carp's single up the middle with the bases loaded scored Ackley and John Jaso for a 2-0 lead.
It also continued a trend of the Mariners jumping on teams early. Seattle has scored in the first inning in six of its last seven games.
Carp snapped an 0-for-7 streak with his first hit since his July 24 return from Triple-A Tacoma.
Ackley's hard single to start the game snapped his 0-for-20 streak. He finished the night 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
Carp hit .286 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs after the All-Star break last year. He was slowed this year after separating his right shoulder during Seattle's opening series in Japan.
''I've got two months to prove I'm past the injury and prove last year wasn't a fluke,'' Carp said.
The two hits were a season-low for Kansas City.
''We just couldn't get anything going,'' Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ''Going into the ninth inning, I was glad I gave Billy the 3-0 green light. That was our only hit.''
Mendoza recorded three outs on four pitches in the third inning.
NOTES: Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma has left the team until Saturday for personal reasons. Iwakuma returned to his native Japan and will not miss a start, according to manager Eric Wedge. ... . Jeff Francoeur picked up an assist after losing a fly ball in the sun in the first when he threw to second to get a fielder's choice out. The mistake gave him the major league-lead in assists with 12.