Verdugo struggles in MLB debut
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ryan Verdugo's big league debut Tuesday night eerily resembled Jonathan Sanchez's final start a day earlier for the Royals.
That's not what Kansas City was hoping for.
Verdugo, a 25-year-old left-hander, gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks without making it through two innings of a 9-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Sanchez gave up seven runs in 1 1-3 innings in a loss Monday to the Mariners and was designated for assignment Tuesday.
After retiring the first two batters, Verdugo gave up four straight hits, including Justin Smoak's two-run homer. He failed to get out of the second when he surrendered three more runs on four hits.
"Ryan got the two outs and I thought `Here we go,' and then it kind of caved in on him," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "When he got hurt it was on pitches up. He's basically a two-pitch pitcher and he was able to throw his curveball but he was leaving the fastball up."
Verdugo and Sanchez were the two pitchers the Royals acquired from the San Francisco Giants in a trade last November for outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was named the All-Star Game MVP.
"I got those first two outs and I was trying to take a deep breath," Verdugo said. "The game is different up here. It's much quicker.
"I might have been a little too amped up. I was nervous on the drive up here, but it didn't really affect me. I just really didn't execute pitches too well," he added. "I just left a few pitches up and they took advantage. I know I still have to go out and execute."
Every Mariners starter had at least one hit. Jesus Montero went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs.
Smoak homered with Montero aboard in the three-run first inning. It was the second straight game Smoak homered in the first. Montero's double scored Casper Wells with the first run.
"It puts us on the board early," Smoak said. "Those guys are swinging the bats well, too, so we're going to have score some runs."
Michael Saunders homered in the fifth inning off Vin Mazzaro after Miguel Olivo singled to give the Mariners a 9-3 cushion.
Kyle Seager doubled home two runs, while Montero singled in the other run in the third off Verdugo.
Blake Beaven (4-6), who was just recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, worked six-plus innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He logged his first victory since May 30 after going 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in two June starts, which merited a demotion to the Pacific Coast League.
Tim Wilhelmsen worked a spotless ninth for his eighth save in 10 opportunities. Wilhelmsen has not allowed a run in 23 innings over his past 19 games.
Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley to cut the lead to 9-6.
Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon hit back-to-back triples in Kansas City's three-run third.
The Royals have lost 12 of 15 to fall a season-low 13 games below .500. They are 15-27 at Kauffman Stadium, the worst home record in the majors.
NOTES: Mariners LHP Charlie Furbush retired the only batter he faced in the seventh, but left with left triceps tightness. "I don't think it's anything serious," Wedge said. "We didn't want to push it. "...The Royals designated for assignment LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who was 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA, and optioned OF Jason Bourgeois to Triple-A Omaha. .The Mariners optioned RHP Steve Delabar, who was 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in 30 relief appearances, to Triple-A Tacoma. . LHP Bruce Chen, who is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA and his lone big league save in 11 career outings against the Mariners, will start Wednesday for the Royals. Chen's former Braves teammate, RHP Kevin Millwood, will start for Seattle.