Royals 6, Mariners 5
With the temperature hovering in the 30s, a steady rain and wind howling up to 24 miles per hour, Luke Hochevar felt right at home.
He held the Seattle Mariners to one hit for seven innings as the Kansas City Royals held on to win 6-5 Friday night for their fifth victory in six games.
''It was definitely cold out there, but that's something you can't really think about,'' Hochevar said. ''I like pitching in the cold. I really do. I think in really, really cold weather the pitcher has the upper hand. Growing up in Colorado I'm used to it.
''I felt like I got in a groove as the game went on. I gave myself a little more time before the game to get loose, knowing it was going to be chilly.''
Royals manager Ned Yost said his hands ''were freezing'' while making a pitching change in the Mariners' three-run ninth.
''It was bitter cold out there,'' Yost said. ''It was a miserable night as I can remember, but it ended on a good note. Luke got on a real roll on a miserable night and got a bunch of ground balls. He pitched extremely well.''
Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a double, the only hit Hochevar (2-1) would allow. Suzuki advanced to third on a Milton Bradley ground out and scored on Jack Cust's fielder's choice grounder.
Hochevar, the first player picked in the 2006 draft, retired 16 in a row after walking Luis Rodriguez with two out in the second before exiting after seven innings and 100 pitches.
Jeff Francoeur led the Royals offense with three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs. He homered in the third after Billy Butler, who also had three hits, doubled. Francoeur's infield single in the first scored Chris Getz, who led off the inning with a walk.
''You know if you score a few runs you get an advantage because it's so cold and raining,'' Francoeur said. ''Hochevar was phenomenal. They get nothing after Ichiro's hit. From there he rolled.
''I know he wasn't extremely happy with is first two starts, but the last two starts he's comeback and been throwing lights outs. For him to pound the strike zone like he did tonight was fun to play behind on a cold night.''
Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard (0-3), who missed all of last season after having his third shoulder surgery in as many years and has not won since June 7, 2009, took the loss.
He gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
Matt Treanor led off the fourth with a home run, giving the Royals a 4-1 lead. Bedard has given up six home runs in 13 2-3 innings in three starts.
The Royals added a run in the fifth when Mike Aviles double scored Francoeur, who had singled. Butler, who also had three hits, contributed a run-producing single in the sixth for the final Kansas City run.
Suzuki also had a RBI-single in the eighth, giving him a record 10 consecutive multi-hit games at Kauffman Stadium. Royals Hall of Famer George Brett held the record with nine straight multi-hit games at Kaufman Stadium in May, 1979.
After rookie left-hander Tim Collins walked the first two Mariners in the ninth, Joakim Soria was summoned and logged his fourth save in five opportunities, but not before allowing three runs, including walking pinch hitter Justin Smoak with the bases loaded. Soria, who has a 7.04 earned run average, allowed both inherited runners to score and gave up another run on two walks, a hit and a wild pitch.
''No excuses,'' Soria said. ''It was just a bad outing for me. We got lucky in that one.''
The Mariners, who have lost 10 of their past 12, are hitting .214 and have only 32 extra-base hit in 14 games.
''There's a lot of fight in these guys,'' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ''We've still got to do a much better job with our at-bats. We're in a stretch right now, with our hitting, where it seems like every time we hit a ball hard, it's at somebody, or if we hit a ground ball it's at somebody. We're not finding too many holes right now. But, we can't put our heads down. We have to fight through it. We can't get caught up in what happened last year or what happened yesterday. We have to focus on today.''
Notes: Mariners IF Jack Wilson, who is in a 0-for-13 skid, was held out of the lineup. Rodriguez replaced Wilson at second place. ... OF Mitch Maier started his first game of the season as manager Ned Yost gave LF Alex Gordon a rest. Maier has five plate-appearances this season and has yet to put the ball in play - three strikeouts and two walks. ... Mariners C Miguel Olivo went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, extending his hitless streak to 25 at-bats with 11 strikeouts.