Royals-M's preview

BY foxsports • July 27, 2012

(AP) -- The Seattle Mariners don't have much punch in their lineup following the departure of Ichiro Suzuki, but they could be a little more imposing if just two of their struggling hitters can turn things around.

The Mariners will try to make it five wins in six games against the Kansas City Royals this season Friday night at Safeco Field.

After losing two of three to New York earlier this week and bidding farewell to Suzuki, Seattle (44-57) opened this four-game series with a 4-1 victory Thursday.

Mike Carp had three hits and drove in two runs in his third game off the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The first baseman came in batting .146 in 34 games and was 0 for 6 in his first two games back.

"I've got two months to prove I'm past the injury and prove last year wasn't a fluke," said Carp, who hit .286 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs after the All-Star break last year.

Dustin Ackley also broke out of his slump, going 2 for 3 with a double and two walks. Ackley was 1 for his previous 29 with nine strikeouts.

Seattle hopes both players can continue contributing. The Mariners rank near the bottom of the majors in most offensive categories, averaging 3.9 runs per game with a .229 batting average. Despite winning four of six, they've scored 2.5 runs while hitting .193 during that stretch.

Facing the Royals (41-57) could help. Kansas City has lost 11 of 14 away from home, during which its pitching staff has a 6.10 ERA, including a 7.40 mark among the starters.

Luis Mendoza gave up four runs, nine hits and three walks Thursday while the Royals managed a season-low two hits - both by Billy Butler - against Jason Vargas and closer Tom Wilhelmsen.

Making his second start for Kansas City after being traded from Colorado, Jeremy Guthrie (0-1, 9.00 ERA) looks for a better performance after struggling in his club debut.

Guthrie gave up five runs and four hits in five innings of a 7-5 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.

"The two-run hits hurt, but honestly I threw the ball the way I wanted to and the hitters hit good pitches," Guthrie said. "I think the biggest mistakes were the walks."

The right-hander is winless since May 31 - a stretch of eight starts and four relief appearances. He has a 6.29 ERA in his last five starts.

Guthrie has lost his last four decisions against the Mariners. He allowed six runs and seven hits - including three homers - in six innings of a 6-4 loss May 20.

Blake Beavan (5-6, 5.54) looks to win his third straight start for the Mariners.

Beavan gave up one run and four hits in eight innings of a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He had allowed five or more runs in each of his previous four outings.

The right-hander beat the Royals on July 17 despite allowing five runs and seven hits over six innings of a 9-6 win. It was his second career win in as many starts against Kansas City.

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