Mariners-Royals Preview

BY foxsports • July 18, 2012

(AP) -- Visitors to Kauffman Stadium seem to enjoy themselves, and the Seattle Mariners aren't any different.

The Mariners will try to continue their offensive barrage and help Kevin Millwood to his first win in four months Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals, the worst home team in baseball.

Kansas City (38-51) has lost 12 of 15 overall to fall a season-low 13 games below .500, and the club's 15-27 home record is the worst in the majors.

The Mariners (39-53) are at the bottom of the AL West, but even they're capitalizing on the Royals at Kauffman. They pounded out 14 hits including four doubles and two homers to win 9-6 on Tuesday, jumping out to a six-run lead after two innings.

That performance was nearly identical to the opener of this four-game set Monday, when Seattle scored seven times in the first two innings and homered three times en route to a 9-4 victory.

"When you set the tone early like that and give yourself some breathing room, it allows our young players to go out there and relax and play and work to their true abilities a little bit easier," manager Eric Wedge said. "We've had some guys that have been struggling and working to find it. It's been nice to see them put some consistent days together. It's nice to see us swing the bats like that."

Justin Smoak has two-run homers in each of the first two games of this series, matching his home run total from his previous 35 games. Seattle's first baseman is 11 for 28 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last nine meetings with the Royals.

Millwood (3-7, 3.71 ERA) could use some help from the Mariners' lineup in order to get his first win since May 23, a drought that hasn't been entirely his fault.

The 37-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA during that stretch, while being backed by two runs or fewer in six of eight starts. He's been given two total runs of support over his last three outings, and got none in Friday's 3-2 loss to Texas as he yielded three runs in 6 2-3 innings.

Millwood is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in his last five visits to Kansas City, losing the most recent with Baltimore on Aug. 1, 2010.

The Royals have dropped seven of eight, but Alex Gordon can't be blamed. He's 14 for 30 over his last seven games, and has five hits so far in this series.

Gordon is 10 for 19 with five RBIs in his last five home games against the Mariners.

Bruce Chen (7-8, 5.50) is scheduled to take the mound for Kansas City in an effort to end his recent struggles.

The left-hander has allowed six runs in each of his last three starts, compiling an 11.85 ERA while going 0-2 and surrendering seven homers. He served up three homers in 4 2-3 innings of Friday's 9-8, 14-inning loss to Chicago.

Perhaps a meeting with the Mariners is just what Chen needs. He's 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 11 career games - seven starts - against them, tossing a six-hitter in a 5-1 home victory April 14, 2011.