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Gonzales' command, offense falter vs. Royals

April 9, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- Marco Gonzales never found his command. The Mariners never found their offense. And it added up to a frustrating 10-0 defeat Monday as Seattle stumbled to its worst loss of the young season on a chilly night at Kauffman Stadium.Young Royals right-hander Jakob Junis continued his sterling

KANSAS CITY -- Marco Gonzales never found his command. The Mariners never found their offense. And it added up to a frustrating 10-0 defeat Monday as Seattle stumbled to its worst loss of the young season on a chilly night at Kauffman Stadium.
Young Royals right-hander Jakob Junis continued his sterling start with seven innings of one-hit ball, with Mariners rookie Daniel Vogelbach finally breaking up a no-hit bid on an infield single one out into the seventh.
The 25-year-old Junis held Seattle to one run over eight innings on a much warmer August afternoon last season as a rookie, and he continued his mastery of the Mariners with another gem on a 42-degree night made further uncomfortable by a steady wind.
"He pitched well against us last year when we faced him, and he's off to a good start this season," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "He made pitches, and we didn't do a whole lot offensively. They just beat us. We had a bad night tonight. We'll be back at 'em tomorrow."
Junis has opened this season with 14 straight scoreless innings on four hits. Just one of those came from the Mariners, with Vogelbach ripping a hard shot back up the middle that shortstop Alcides Escobar, shifted behind second base, knocked down but couldn't make a play on for the lone hit off the 25-year-old right-hander.

"He was working fast, he was in and out, and he threw a lot of strikes," said Vogelbach. "You have to give him credit."
Junis did hit three batters and walked two in his 90-pitch outing, but the Mariners got just one runner past first base on the night. Seattle finished with two hits in falling to 4-4.
The Mariners are playing without four starting position players, with designated hitter Nelson Cruz, catcher Mike Zunino, left fielder Ben Gamel and first baseman Ryon Healy all on the disabled list.
They had overcome that in earlier games with tremendous production from the top of their lineup, but the first four of Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, Robinson Cano and Mitch Haniger were a combined 1-for-13 in this one.
Junis got plenty of offensive help as the Royals (3-5) tallied a season-high 10 runs after totaling just nine in their previous six games. Mike Moustakas went 3-for-5 with a double and home run, with the long ball coming in the eighth off Mariners utility man Taylor Motter, who pitched an inning.
Gonzales couldn't follow up on his solid season debut, lasting just 2 1/3 innings while allowing eight hits and four runs in a 64-pitch struggle.
"I'm the type of guy who needs to be able to throw strikes, and when that's not the case, you have to make adjustments quick," Gonzales said. "And tonight wasn't my night to do that."

Casey Lawrence gave up five more runs in the fourth, but Chasen Bradford threw three scoreless innings in his Mariners debut before Motter was called on when the game was out of hand.
Royals rediscover runs: After totaling just six runs over their last five games, Kansas City jumped on Gonzales for three tallies in the first inning, with Moustakas delivering the big blow with a two-run double over the head of center fielder Gordon. The Royals racked up five hits and a walk, as Gonzales needed 43 pitches to get out of the frame.

Little things add up:Paulo Orlando beat out a fielder's choice grounder in the fourth inning, just touching the bag before Cano's relay throw on an attempted 6-4-3 double play that would have ended the inning for Seattle reliever Lawrence. Instead, a run scored as Orlando was safe at first, and that opened the door to a five-run frame that broke the game open for Kansas City. Cam Gallagher followed with an RBI double, Escobar singled in a run, and Andrew Butera ripped a two-run double to make it 9-0.

"There's no excuses there. It was perfectly fine. I was raised in this, so perfectly fine." -- Gonzales, a former Gonzaga standout who grew up in Denver, on pitching on a 42-degree night with a 36-degree wind chill
The last time the Mariners managed just two hits in a game was Aug. 29 of last season at Baltimore.
Although the Mariners are carrying nine relievers at the moment, Motter made the second pitching appearance of his Major League career with his eighth-inning relief outing, as the utility man gave up one hit and one run on the Moustakas homer. He did record one strikeout. The 28-year-old gave up one hit and got one out in an outing for the Rays in 2016 against the Tigers. Eight Mariners position players have pitched in a game, with Jesus Sucre doing it twice. The last time it had happened was catcher Carlos Ruiz on June 13 last season at Minnesota.

"I thought at that point, the game was out of hand," Servais said. "We have a couple more ballgames here, and I didn't want to use [long reliever Wade] LeBlanc there so we could keep him available if something were to happen early in the game tomorrow. That was where we were at. I didn't see a lot of benefit in firing up another pitcher at that point."
Felix Hernandez faces the Royals at 5:15 p.m. PT in Tuesday's middle game of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium as he looks to bounce back from a rough go against the Giants. Hernandez threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings vs. the Indians on Opening Day, but gave up eight runs on six hits and four walks in four-plus innings in San Francisco. He's 5-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 14 career starts against Kansas City.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.