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Butera goes deep for first spring homer

Special to MLB.com @DougMillerMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Mariners took advantage of some early defensive miscues by the Royals to take a quick lead Thursday, and they kept building it, scoring in five of the first six innings en route to a 9-2 win.

Chase De Jong pitched four solid innings for the Mariners, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out one. He is slated to start the season at Triple-A.

Full Game Coverage

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Mariners took advantage of some early defensive miscues by the Royals to take a quick lead Thursday, and they kept building it, scoring in five of the first six innings en route to a 9-2 win.

Chase De Jong pitched four solid innings for the Mariners, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out one. He is slated to start the season at Triple-A.

Full Game Coverage

"I wish I would have gotten … more leadoff hitters out. … But I battled well, kept myself in some pretty good counts, made some pitches when I was behind," De Jong said. "All in all, I'm very happy with this outing."

Kansas City starter Jason Vargas had a mixed outing, inducing five infield grounders in just two innings of work, but only two of the ground balls resulted in outs. Vargas gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk and ran his pitch count up while his infield made three errors in two innings behind him.

"I thought Vargy threw the ball well,," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Two or three times I thought he had hitters locked up and didn't get the call. He got his work in, so it was a good day for him."

Taylor Motter reached base in all four trips to the plate for the Mariners. He singled to right in the first, knocked in a run with a fielder's choice to short in the second, walked, stole a base, and scored in the fourth, then doubled to left before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the sixth. Seattle designated hitter Boog Powell was 3-for-4 with a bases-loaded, two-run double in the sixth.

Royals catcher Drew Butera took De Jong deep for his first homer of the Cactus League season, a lined shot to left that dropped in the Kansas City bullpen to lead off the third inning.

Royals prospect Raul Mondesi made a couple of uncharacteristic errors in the first and second innings on routine grounders to second. Shortstop Ramon Torres also made a throwing error in the second, with the three errors contributing to two unearned runs.

Mariners Up Next: The Mariners will split squads on Friday. The first game will be a 1:10 p.m. PT start against the D-backs at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (0-1, 9.00) making his third start of the spring. Gallardo is scheduled to be followed on the mound by Andrew Moore, Evan Scribner and Dan Altavilla. The Mariners will also play a 7:05 p.m. PT game vs. the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, with Ariel Miranda (0-1, 5.87) getting the start and Max Povse, Ryan Weber and Dean Kiekhefer also slated to pitch in a game shown on MLB.TV.

Royals Up Next: Nathan Karns toes the rubber for the Royals on Friday for a 3:05 p.m. CT tilt with the Brewers. It's Karns' fourth Cactus League start, and he was roughed up a bit in his previous two, allowing a combined six earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven over five innings. The game will be shown on MLB.TV.

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

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

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

Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals