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Elias sees fast start fall apart in flash

'It got away very quickly,' McClendon says of Royals' 7-run 4th

SEATTLE -- Roenis Elias was just one pitch away from getting out of the fourth inning and keeping his team in the ballgame.

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Sure, he had already let up a big hit -- a 377-foot, two-run blast by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas -- but with two outs in the fourth inning and a 3-2 count to left fielder Alex Gordon, he needed just one pitch to extend his night.

Instead, Elias missed with a fastball and plunked right fielder Alex Rios two pitches later to extend the Royals' inning, loading the bases for second baseman Omar Infante in what became a seven-run inning and an 8-2 Mariners loss on Wednesday night.

The fourth inning produced a drastically different result for Elias, who charged through the Royals' lineup in order over his first three innings, needing just 26 pitches to retire the first nine hitters he faced.

"To be truthful with you, the way the game started, I thought he was going to have a tremendous outing tonight," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "Real good command of the fastball. Changeup was good, breaking ball was good."

Thirty-six pitches and just two outs later, his night was finished, thanks in large part to a bases-clearing double by Infante that gave Kansas City a 5-0 lead.

"I'm not sure what happened. I felt good, it was just a bad day for me," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "Everything was working well, they just put good swings on good pitches. It was just a bad day and I'm just going to stay positive for my next time out."

After the Salvador Perez flyout, five straight Royals reached base. All but one of them scored.

"We're still trying to figure that out," said McClendon of the fourth-inning collapse. "He was throwing a whale of a ballgame and just fell apart in the fourth inning. He couldn't get it back together."

Elias' speed never dropped -- he threw the same low-to-mid-90s fastball from pitch No. 1 to pitch No. 60 -- but a few of his fastballs elevated during the fourth inning, and the Royals capitalized.

Center fielder Jarrod Dyson doubled to left to score Infante and end Elias' night. Alcides Escobar then doubled off of reliever Vidal Nuno to tack another run onto Elias' stat line.

"It's just one of those days where it's a hitter's day," Elias said. "I just have to focus on the next one and keep working on making those pitches."

The seven-run, six-hit fourth took the Mariners out of a series finale in which several good things happened for Seattle's offense.

Despite leaving seven runners on base and going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, the Mariners logged nine hits. Catcher Mike Zunino finished with his first multi-hit game since May 28 and left fielder Franklin Gutierrez went 1-for-3 and drove in a run in his first Major League game since 2013.

"I wish I could tell you our guys were flat and they weren't fired up and weren't ready to play, but that's just not the case," McClendon said. "We came out with a lot of energy and I thought we were competing well and it just got away in the fourth. It got away very quickly."

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for
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