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News » Mariners-Royals Preview 2009-05-07

Mariners-Royals Preview 2009-05-07

Mariners-Royals Preview 2009-05-07
The Kansas City Royals have put their early struggles at the plate far behind them.

The surprising Royals looks to continue their offensive surge and win their sixth straight Thursday night when they wrap up a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners, who are trying to avoid losing their fourth in a row.

After scoring eight runs in its first five games, Kansas City (17-11) looked to be on its way to a sixth straight losing season. Instead, the Royals are atop the AL Central - thanks in part to a high-powered lineup.

Kansas City defeated Seattle 9-1 in Wednesday's series opener for its fifth consecutive win and seventh in eight games. Mark Teahen and Mike Jacobs each had three hits and three RBIs for the Royals, who pounded out 17 hits.

Kansas City, which hasn't won six in a row since a seven-game run from Sept. 13-18, has scored 37 runs and batted .325 during the winning streak.

"Early in the year, everybody was a little rattled because we weren't scoring runs," said Teahen, who hit his fourth homer Wednesday. "We knew we had a good-hitting team, stuck with our approach and it's paying off."

Willie Bloomquist, signed as a free agent after spending his first seven years with Seattle, is 12 for 26 (.462) with a homer, three RBIs and nine runs during a seven-game hitting streak. He's batting .478 (11 for 23) with a triple and two doubles versus Jarrod Washburn (3-1, 2.97 ERA), Thursday's scheduled starter.

After giving up a season-high six runs in a season-low 5 1-3 innings of an 8-0 loss to Los Angeles on April 26, Washburn allowed one run in seven innings of Saturday's 3-2 loss to Oakland. He didn't get the decision in that start.

After going 5-14 with a 4.69 ERA last year, Washburn is off to a solid start this season, yielding two runs or less in four of his five outings.

"That last start (against the Angels) was a blip on the screen," the left-hander told the Mariners' official Web site. "I wanted to get back on track and I did that."

Washburn went 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts versus the Royals in 2008, but is 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts at Kauffman Stadium.

Ken Griffey Jr. returned to Seattle's lineup Wednesday and doubled in his first at-bat after missing three games with stomach pain.

The Mariners (15-13) have lost three straight and seven of 10 after opening the year 12-6. They've dropped five in a row to the Royals, their longest skid in the series since losing six straight from June 28- Sept. 22, 1989.

Kansas City's Brian Bannister (2-0, 1.96) will oppose Washburn on Thursday.

Bannister allowed two runs in 13 innings to win his first two starts after being recalled from Triple-A Omaha, but gave up six runs - three earned - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 10-7, 11-inning victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

While Bannister's start to the season has been encouraging, the Royals hope it's not a repeat of 2008.

The right-hander posted a 0.86 ERA in winning his first three starts last year but finished with a 9-16 mark and 5.76 ERA. He lost all three starts against the Mariners last season, recording a 4.79 ERA in those outings.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 7, 2009

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