Mariners 6, Royals 4

Back from Japan, the Seattle Mariners needed a few innings on

the field to brush off the jetlag and snap out of their

slumber.

Miguel Olivo and Kyle Seager hit consecutive home runs during a

six-run sixth inning and Seattle rallied past the Kansas City

Royals 6-4 Sunday in its first game since opening the regular

season at Tokyo Dome.

The Mariners split two midweek games against Oakland in Japan,

and their regulars hadn’t played since Thursday. Given two days to

get readjusted back in the United States, players nevertheless

acknowledged they were still a bit sluggish.

Munenori Kawasaki had three hits for the Mariners, who used six

projected starters. He had two hits in the sixth inning alone.

Olivo’s three-run homer tied it at 4. Seager, batting .357,

followed with his fourth home run of the spring.

”I did some work this offseason to try to use my hips and my

shoulders a little bit more,” Seager said. ”It’s just spring

training and everything, but it feels good to be able to drive the

ball a little more.”

Two walks later, Kawasaki singled in a run for his second hit of

the inning.

”In that inning, we all woke up and we started to hit,” Olivo

said, adding that it felt like early morning to him. ”You know, we

were still feeling like we were on Japanese time. I think by

(Monday) it’ll pass, hopefully.”

Mike Moustakas homered and hit a two-run double for the Royals,

who played their projected opening day lineup. Bruce Chen struck

out six and walked one while allowing three hits in four shutout

innings, his final tuneup before starting the season opener Friday

against the Los Angeles Angels.

”Bruce was dialed in. He just kind of real quickly got to

midseason form,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ”Using his

fastball, changing speeds, keeping the ball down. Another good

outing. He’s ready.”

Four earned runs were charged to Royals reliever Tim Collins,

who got only two outs. Alcides Escobar had three hits for Kansas

City and Jeff Francoeur added two.

Seattle’s Blake Beavan made his last start of spring training

and is next scheduled to pitch April 10 in Texas in his

regular-season debut. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3

innings.

The Mariners set their starting rotation for the first full week

of games, with Jason Vargas going Friday in Oakland, followed by

ace Felix Hernandez on Saturday. Hector Noesi pitches April 9 in

Texas and Kevin Millwood on April 11.

Vargas starts again April 12 and Hernandez gets the ball April

13 for Seattle’s home opener.

NOTES: Four Mariners were sent home early – 2B Dustin Ackley, OF

Carlos Peguero, OF Michael Saunders and LHP George Sherrill – due

to illness. A flulike virus has spread through the clubhouse. …

SS Brendan Ryan was given another day off since the team’s return

from Japan but is expected to be in the lineup Monday. … The

Mariners released RHP Aaron Heilman from minor league camp.

Heilman, who has pitched in the majors for nine seasons, had been a

non-roster invitee this spring before being reassigned. … The

Royals conclude spring training in Arizona with a workout Monday

morning, then play the San Diego Padres in an exhibition game

Tuesday night. ”I think we’re ready to go,” Yost said.