Mariners’ late rally takes out Royals
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — 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.