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Skoglund labors for Royals in season debut

Lefty attacks zone, but Mariners' bats do early damage
Special to MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund finally has something to build on.

Because of off-days and postponements, the club's No. 5 starter took the mound for his season debut on Tuesday night having not pitched since March 17 in Spring Training. The result wasn't what Skoglund was hoping for, as the Mariners got to him for six hits and five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings en route to an 8-3 victory. But considering how much rust there was to knock off, Royals manager Ned Yost was left to feel there are much brighter days ahead for Skoglund.

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KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund finally has something to build on.

Because of off-days and postponements, the club's No. 5 starter took the mound for his season debut on Tuesday night having not pitched since March 17 in Spring Training. The result wasn't what Skoglund was hoping for, as the Mariners got to him for six hits and five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings en route to an 8-3 victory. But considering how much rust there was to knock off, Royals manager Ned Yost was left to feel there are much brighter days ahead for Skoglund.

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"I was really pleased to see the action on his fastball," Yost said. "After two innings, he got on the attack in the zone instead of trying to be too perfect."

The Mariners got a run in the first and three in the second before Skoglund settled in with two scoreless innings. He allowed a solo homer to Guillermo Heredia in the fifth and left with the Royals in a 5-2 hole.

Video: SEA@KC: Yost discusses Skoglund's outing in 8-3 loss

"I felt better as the game went on," Skoglund said.

Skoglund didn't use his 23-day layoff as an excuse.

"It is what it is, man," Skoglund said. "That's baseball. It's part of it."

Skoglund will be able to get back in a starter's routine now. He'll get the ball again on four days' rest on Sunday against the Angels.

"I made better pitches [as the start continued]," Skoglund said. "I made some foolish pitches early that cost us."

Skoglund wound up hitting three batters, which was particularly irritating for him.

"That gets me fired up, because it's just not me," Skoglund said. "I can't wait to get back out there."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Can't turn two: With runners at first and second and one out in the second, Skoglund induced a ground ball. The only problem was the Royals couldn't turn a double play on the fleet-footed Dee Gordon, and that forceout kept the inning alive. Jean Segura followed with a two-run triple and Robinson Cano added an RBI double that gave the Mariners a 4-0 lead.

Video: SEA@KC: Segura plates two with a triple to the gap

Moose tracks: His two-run blast in the fourth served notice that Mike Moustakas is primed for more homer heroics this year. His first of the season on Monday came off position player Taylor Motter. But Tuesday's jack, which traveled a projected 419 feet, according to Statcast™, came off the celebrated Felix Hernandez and prompted the biggest roar of the night from Royals fans. Moustakas has now homered in consecutive games 13 times in his career. More >

Video: SEA@KC: Moustakas belts a two-run home run to right

QUOTABLE
"I like the plane of the [Skoglund] fastball. Last year, he was underneath pitches and his pitches were flat. He was staying downhill [on Tuesday]." -- Yost, on Skoglund's outing

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his two-hit game on Tuesday, Whit Merrifield extended his career-high home on-base streak to 19 games.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Mariners lost their first challenge of the season when Mike Marjama was thrown out trying to steal second to end the fifth inning. The call was ruled to stand.

Video: SEA@KC: Butera gets the out, call stands

WHAT'S NEXT
Left-hander Danny Duffy (0-2, 7.45 ERA) will be looking to avoid the big inning when he starts the series finale at 1:15 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. The eight runs he has allowed this year have come in just two innings. The Indians got to Duffy for three runs in the first on Friday en route to a 3-2 victory.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas, Eric Skoglund