New and old faces boost Mariners in extra-innings win

Locklear, Rodríguez and Raleigh come up clutch to escape Royals' late rally

June 9th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- was right on cue with some late-game heroics in his Major League debut -- and and were right there to join him.

At the end of another wild day at Kauffman Stadium, the Mariners needed something old and something new to pull out a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Royals on Sunday in 10 innings.

For the third time in this series, Kansas City just wouldn’t go away. After Locklear made a bid to become the definitive hero with a go-ahead double in the seventh inning, which triggered a two-run frame, the rookie wound up sharing the spotlight with experienced veterans Rodríguez and Raleigh.

Trailing 3-1 with two outs in the ninth, the Royals got a two-run homer from MJ Melendez to extend the game. For a Seattle team that had blown an eight-run lead on Friday, it was a gut punch.

But the Mariners didn’t wallow in despair. With two outs in the 10th, Rodríguez delivered with a clutch RBI single through the right side against Royals closer James McArthur. Then, Raleigh added a two-run single, which ended up looming large after Hunter Renfroe blasted a two-run homer for Kansas City in the bottom of the 10th. Tayler Saucedo came in and got the save in two pitches to finally shut the door on the Royals’ rally.

“The Royals are just pesky, really tough to finish off,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Those were some huge hits in the 10th. It’s about not trying to do too much. Julio shortened his swing a little, made solid contact and hit the ball the other way. And I feel really good about Cal in those spots.”

Locklear left 13 tickets for family members who came from Baltimore to see his debut.

Without the Melendez homer, Locklear would have had the game-winning hit.

“You just try to relax, have fun and play baseball,” Locklear said. “I thought [the go-ahead double] was going to hang up a little bit, just the way the yard was playing. I was just glad it got down.”

The Royals had pummeled Seattle pitching for a combined 18 runs through the opening two games of the series, but George Kirby gave the Mariners their MLB-leading 40th quality start. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing just five hits and one run. Kirby, who didn’t allow a walk, picked up on the Royals’ approach while watching the first two games of the series.

“They are aggressive,” Kirby said. “From the fourth through the sixth, they were swinging at everything. So, I really tried to focus on location. You have to get to a spot and execute it. You can’t let your stuff leak into the middle [of the plate].”

The Mariners welcomed back reliever Andrés Muñoz, who hadn’t pitched since Tuesday because of back issues, and he worked a scoreless eighth. Mike Baumann couldn’t close the door with two outs in the ninth, but the Mariners displayed grit of their own with the three-run 10th inning.

“Good teams don’t roll over and the Royals showed that,” Raleigh said. “It was huge to get that one. It felt like we left one on the table [Friday], but it was really a good one today.”