Royals 4, Mariners 2

Ervin Santana had his fastball of old.

The 30-year-old right-hander struck out seven in four innings,

including six of eight in one stretch, helped the

Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Wednesday to

improve their spring training record to 14-2.

”You remember what happened in 2008?” Santana said, a

reference to a season in which he fanned 214.

Santana allowed two hits and walked none, throwing 35 of 53

pitches for strikeouts. He allowed his only run on Carlos

Truinfel’s third-inning homer.

”The good thing I was keeping the ball down and working on my

offspeed, which was pretty good today,” Santana said. ”I threw a

lot of sliders. The strikeouts were mixed, a couple of sliders, a

couple of changeups, a few fastballs.”

After going 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA in 30 starts last year, Santana

was acquired by the Royals from the Los Angeles Angels in October

for left-hander Brandon Sisk.

”I’m very pleased with his outing, again on the attack, good

fastball, got it up to 94, a really good slider, got a changeup to

the second baseman and he ended up putting a nice swing on it,”

Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”A nice job. It was

encouraging.”

Hisashi Iwakuma retired the first nine Royals, eight on

groundouts, before allowing four singles in the fourth – including

the run-scoring hits by Billy Butler and Salvador Perez.

”He struck me out on three fastballs in the first at-bat,” the

Royals’ Mike Moustakas said. ”It looked like he got a little

sneaky. He was throwing a slider, cutter and mixing his pitches

well.”

Elliot Johnson tripled leading off the sixth and scored on

Xavier Nady’s single for a 3-2 lead.

Seattle has lost four straight and six of seven following a

10-game winning streak.

Left-hander Danny Hultzen, selected by Seattle with the second

pick of the 2011 amateur draft, pitched for the first time since

Feb. 27 after recovering from a strained hip flexor. He gave up a

double to Lorenzo Cain leading off the fifth, then retired three in

a row.

”It felt good to be back out there,” Hultzen said. ”I’m past

it. Hopefully, it doesn’t come back. I’ll keep doing some

preventive work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Cain hit a hanging curveball.

”An 0-2 curveball that can’t happen ever,” Hultzen said. ”I

learned my lesson. That kind of hung up and he crushed it. I knew

where it was supposed to go, but I just didn’t do it that time. I

threw a couple of good ones after that, but that one he

hammered.”

NOTES: RHP Luke Hochevar, the first player picked in the 2006

amateur draft and the Royals’ 2011 opening-day starter, has been

sent to the bullpen, failing in his attempt to earn the final

rotation slot. Hochevar had a 6.75 ERA in three appearances,

allowing six runs, nine hits, two homers and two walks in eight

innings. LHP Bruce Chen and RHP Luis Mendoza remain the leading

candidates to be the No. 5 starter, but Yost said LHP Will Smith

and rookie RHP Yordano Ventura are possibilities. … Nady has

plantar fasciitis, a foot inflammation, and was removed for a pinch

runner in the sixth. … The Royals requested unconditional release

waivers on RHP Guillermo Moscoso, claimed off waivers Nov. 2 from

Colorado. He went 3-2 with a 6.13 ERA last season with the Rockies

and was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three spring training appearances.

Moscoso had a contract paying him $504,250 in the majors and

$181,900 in the minors. He gets 30 days’ termination pay at the

lower rate, or $29,820.