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Moose's homer lifts Royals over Mariners

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Mike Moustakas homered for the second consecutive game, hitting a two-run, go-ahead shot in the fourth inning, and Danny Duffy allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Royals won, 7-3, over the Mariners on Tuesday at Safeco Field for their fifth win in six games.

Leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-pitch home run off of Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. An error by Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano allowed a run to score in the fourth and a Salvador Perez double plated two runs in the fifth after two walks by Hernandez, widening the Royals lead to 6-2.

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SEATTLE -- Mike Moustakas homered for the second consecutive game, hitting a two-run, go-ahead shot in the fourth inning, and Danny Duffy allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Royals won, 7-3, over the Mariners on Tuesday at Safeco Field for their fifth win in six games.

Leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-pitch home run off of Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. An error by Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano allowed a run to score in the fourth and a Salvador Perez double plated two runs in the fifth after two walks by Hernandez, widening the Royals lead to 6-2.

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All-Star Nelson Cruz hammered a two-run single in the first inning to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead, but Seattle's offense went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position after that. Jean Segura, who went 4-for-5, hit an RBI single in the seventh.

Video: KC@SEA: Cruz crushes a two-run single off the wall

Moose leading AL Final Vote candidates

"Offensively, we have not swung the bat well at home … for whatever reason," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We get little rallies going, but just not getting the big hit. The big two-out double to kind of kick-started it, and everybody relaxing and going from there. I think guys are pressing a little bit, they want to get it back going at home. They know it's important to finish on a high note headed into the break, but it's just not happening right now. … Our guys are busting it, they're putting in the work in the cage and trying to get their swings right. But it's got to carry over onto the field, and right now it's not."

Hernandez (3-3, 5.04 ERA) struggled in six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits while striking out five and walking four.

"Today, I thought his stuff was really good early on," Servais said. "I thought the fastball had good life to it. I thought the changeup had good bottom to it. … But he made a couple of mistakes. The hanging curveball to Moustakas -- one of the hottest hitters in the league right now, especially with the home run -- that one hurt. And after that it was the walks."

Gallardo finding footing in Seattle's bullpen

Meanwhile, Duffy (5-4, 3.51 ERA), the Royals' Opening Day starter who was making his first start since going on the disabled list on May 28 with a right oblique muscle strain, looked like a staff ace once again, giving up five hits, striking out four and walking two.

Video: KC@SEA: Duffy fans Seager in the 4th

"I felt like we kind of fell right back into place," Duffy said. "[Catcher] Salvy [Perez] called a great game. The boys spotted me a ton of runs. So it was a good day overall."

• Duffy dedicates win to teen who passed away

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moose power:
 Esurance Final Vote candidate Moustakas showed yet again why he was a coveted participant of the T-Mobile 2017 Home Run Derby, as the left-handed slugger launched his 24th home run on a first-pitch hanging curveball to collect two RBIs and provide the Royals a 3-2 lead. The home run was Moustakas' 27th barrelled ball of the season, according to MLB's Statcast™, the 14th-most in the Major Leagues.

"He's been amazing to watch, to get on a hot streak like this and especially a homer streak like he has," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "From the side, to see him hit that curveball the way that he did … it was a pretty big breaking curveball and, I mean, just, boom. He's just on one of those streaks where you just ride it as long as you can. It's been really, really fun to watch."

Welcome back, Mr. Cruz: In his first game back in the starting lineup after missing the last few days with a sore right knee, Cruz made his presence known. After Segura and Danny Valencia singled to lead off the second, Cruz laced a single off the wall in right-center field with an exit velocity of 109 mph, providing the Mariners a 2-1 lead. 

Video: KC@SEA: Cruz crushes a two-run single off the wall

QUOTABLE
"Offensively it was good to have Cruz back in there today. I think everybody sees he's not 100 percent, but he's doing what he can in the batter's box. He swung the bat well." -- Servais

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: First-time All-Star Jason Vargas will make his final start of an exceptional first half when he takes the hill in the series finale. Vargas (12-2, 2.22 ERA) leads the American League in wins and ERA and could make a case to start the Midsummer Classic, set for July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.

Mariners: Left-hander Ariel Miranda (7-4, 3.82 ERA) gets the ball for the Mariners in the third and final game of the series vs. the Royals. Miranda, who has never faced Kansas City, notched his seventh victory of the season in his last start after blanking the Angels on two hits through seven innings on June 30 in Anaheim.

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

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Danny Duffy, Felix Hernandez