Mariners 7, Royals 1
Chone Figgins and Ryan Langerhans were the unexpected keys to
the Seattle Mariners finally beating Zach Greinke.
The Kansas City ace had been 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 10 career
starts against Seattle. Those numbers changed drastically after the
Mariners’ 7-1 victory Friday night.
Figgins, who was hitless in 21 career at-bats against Grienke,
had two hits and drove in three runs. Langerhans, who was hitting
.190 this season and had never faced Grienke, hit the first he saw
from the Cy Young Award for a home run, then had two more hits and
scored twice. He finished a triple short of the cycle.
”Historically, how he has pitched against us, you just don’t
want to get deep in the count against him,” Mariners manager Don
Wakamatsu said. ”We had a plan right away to go jump on him as
much as we could.”
Of the 34 hitters Grienke faced, 15 swung at his first pitch,
five for hits. That included Langerhans’ third-inning home run to
deep center field.
”He made some mistakes with that first pitch,” Langerhans
said. ”We were aggressive and didn’t miss them. That was a big
key. Instead of fouling them off, we were putting them in
That was the first earned run allowed by Grienke against the
Mariners in 37 innings, since April 14, 2008. That streak included
a one-hit, 3-0 victory last Aug. 30, an impressive win on the way
to the Cy Young Award.
”He likes it away and down a little,” Grienke said of his 90
mph fastball to Langerhans. ”It was kind of down and middle away –
a first pitch that is good for most guys but that is right in his
power zone pretty much and he was ready for it.”
Grienke said he threw everything where he wanted, ”and they
still ended up scoring six runs (off him). Maybe that’s what it
was. I got the best of them a couple times and it was time for them
to do that to me.”
The Mariners scored their most runs since an 8-1 win over
Detroit on July 4 to support Luke French (1-2). He went eight
innings, allowing one run and nine hits. It was his fifth career
win, third against Kansas City. His first major league win was July
8 last season when he was with Detroit, over the Royals and Grienke
was the opposing pitcher.
Jack Wilson followed Langerhans’ home run with a triple into the
left-center gap. With one out and the infield drawn in for a
possible play at home, Figgins bounced a three-hopper past second
baseman Chris Getz to score Wilson.
”He’s going to give you pitches to hit. You just have to be
ready to hit them. And don’t miss him,” Figgins said. ”You get
behind on a guy like that, it could be a quick night.”
However, that at-bat by Figgins stood as a contrast to virtually
every other plate appearance by the Mariners. It was 11 pitches. He
fouled off five pitches with a 3-2 count.
Wakamatsu said ”that 11-pitch at-bat to drive in a run in the
third was critical.”
Grienke said that the ball skipped past Getz ”was just a lucky
Wilson had a sacrifice fly and Ichiro Suzuki had a two-out RBI
single in the fourth.
In the sixth, Figgins had a two-out, two-run double into the
left-field corner. His three RBIs were a season high. Over his past
13 games, he is hitting .404.
Casey Kotchman finished it with a two-out RBI single in the
The Royals scored their lone run in the third. Gregor Blanco and
Jason Kendall had consecutive two-out singles then Billy Butler
looped a ball over second base that just eluded shortstop Wilson.
Blanco scored but Kendall was caught in a rundown between second
”French set the tone early,” Wakamatsu said. ”After those
three hits in a row to score a run, from that point on I thought he
was really good. He threw strikes. He pitched to both sides of the
plate and retired 11 of the last 12 hitters he faced.
”He made some great pitches when he needed to.”
NOTES: Despite leading the Royals in home runs (16) and RBIs
(62), Jose Guillen was designated from assignment Thursday. The
move allows the club to play highly touted prospect Kila Ka’aihue
every day. Manager New Yost said the Royals ”tried to find a
(trading) partner, but time ran out. It got to the point we had to
make a decision.” The Royals also understood that Guillen has
never been happy in a reserve role. … Yost said RHP Brian
Bannister will work out of the bullpen, missing at least two
starts, to fix a mechanical flaw in his delivery. He has lost his
last five decisions. … Kansas City SS Yuniesky Betancourt will
likely miss the three-game series to be with his wife in Miami at
the delivery of their first child. … Mariners OF Michael Saunders
missed the game with neck soreness after crashing into the wall
Sunday. … LHP Erik Bedard had his third surgery on his left