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Walker flashes K's as Seattle tops KC late

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out five in his second spring start, and Ed Lucas drove in two runs, including the decisive ground-rule double in the eighth as the Mariners topped a Royals split-squad, 7-5, on Wednesday in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium. Kansas City catcher Drew Butera homered and knocked in two runs on two hits.

The Mariners broke a 4-4 tie with a three-run eighth, started by Lucas' go-ahead double and followed by an RBI single from Dae-Ho Lee, who then scored on an error.

Full Game Coverage

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out five in his second spring start, and Ed Lucas drove in two runs, including the decisive ground-rule double in the eighth as the Mariners topped a Royals split-squad, 7-5, on Wednesday in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium. Kansas City catcher Drew Butera homered and knocked in two runs on two hits.

The Mariners broke a 4-4 tie with a three-run eighth, started by Lucas' go-ahead double and followed by an RBI single from Dae-Ho Lee, who then scored on an error.

Full Game Coverage

Video: KC@SEA: Lucas belts a run-scoring double into the gap

Walker threw three innings of one-run ball, allowing only a leadoff homer in the third to Butera. The 23-year-old Walker allowed three hits with no walks.

"Today was a big step forward, especially with the breaking ball," said Walker. "I've been working on it a lot, and it felt really good today. I established the fastball early and was able to work on my breaking ball like I wanted."

Video: KC@SEA: Walker discusses his start, progress

Gordon's 4 hits, homer power KC past Crew

Butera jumped on Walker's first offering in the third inning -- a fastball on the outer half of the plate -- and drove it out to straight center.

"I was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs for strikes," said Walker. "He was waiting on it and got it pretty good. During the season, third inning I'll probably mix some offspeed -- curveball and changeup -- just because I feel like they'll start being more aggressive."

Butera added an RBI single in a two-run fourth off Seattle reliever Cody Martin to give Kansas City a 3-2 lead.

Video: KC@SEA: Butera connects on an RBI single to center

Left-handed starter Matt Strahm threw two perfect innings for the Royals before giving up a pair of unearned runs on a walk, a throwing error, a sacrifice fly by Ketel Marte and an RBI single by Kyle Seager. Strahm, a 24-year-old who pitched Class A ball last year as he comes back from Tommy John surgery in 2013, was pulled after 2 2/3 innings with just the one hit allowed.

Video: KC@SEA: Seager plates Martin on a run-scoring single

Royals reliever Scott Alexander replaced Strahm and continued his strong spring with 1 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts. The 26-year-old southpaw has allowed just one hit and one walk over 4 1/3 scoreless innings in four Cactus League outings.

Seattle regained the lead at 4-3 in the sixth on an RBI double by Stefen Romero and a run-scoring single by Lucas, but the Royals tied it back up when Whit Merrifield tripled and scored on a passed ball in the eighth.

Video: KC@SEA: Romero evens the score with an RBI double

Up next for the Royals: Kansas City takes the road to Glendale to face the division-rival White Sox on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. CT, in a free, exclusive MLB.com webcast. Right-hander Ian Kennedy, signed to a five-year, $70 million deal this offseason, will make his second start of the spring.

Up next for the Mariners: Lefty Wade Miley, acquired from the Red Sox by trade, will make his second start of the spring on Thursday as the Mariners face Jon Lester and the Cubs in a 12:10 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium, live on MLB.TV. Joaquin Benoit and Justin De Fratus are among the Mariners' relievers slated to work in the game.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Drew Butera, Ed Lucas, Matt Strahm, Taijuan Walker