KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Aaron Crow threw a pitch where he shouldn’t have and Kendrys Morales made him pay for it.
Morales hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Seattle Mariners to a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.
Morales hit his 18th home run to straight away center on a 1-2 pitch from Crow (7-5) with Franklin Gutierrez, who had walked, aboard.
“It was just one pitch but that will hurt you,” Crow said. “I just left it up and it hurts more so because the home run lost us the ballgame.”
Crow was just as upset about walking Gutierrez after having him down in the count, 1-2.
“I’ve got to put that guy away and Morales doesn’t get up,” Crow said.
Royals manager Ned Yost agreed with Crow on both accounts.
“You’ve got different options there with Morales,” Yost said. “You can go down and away, bust him inside or go back foot. You just don’t want to go there. But it wasn’t Morales as much as Gutierrez. That’s the guy you want to go for there so you don’t get to Morales.”
The Royals used eight pitchers, tying a club record for a nine-inning game. The last time the Royals used eight pitchers in a nine-inning game was Sept. 7, 1975.
Yost went through seven relievers after starter Ervin Santana was yanked early. Santana failed to make it through the fourth and was charged with four runs, seven hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings, his briefest outing of the year.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” Santana said. “I’ll get them next time. I didn’t pitch the way I’ve pitched this year. I didn’t have my fastball. My location was off after the second inning.”
It was a detrimental loss for the Royals’ playoffs hopes, dropping them 5½ games behind in the wild card standings with only 23 games left.
Lucas Luetge (1-2) worked two perfect innings to earn the victory. Danny Farquhar worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 15 opportunities.
Taijuan Walker, who became the youngest Mariners starting pitcher (21 years, 17 days) to pick up a victory in his major league debut on Friday at Houston, struck out two in the first inning, his fastball touching 97 mph.
Walker, a 6-foot-5 right-hander who was also a basketball star in high school with a 21-point average, did not allow a hit over the first three innings, but yielded four runs, four hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the fourth to tie the score.
Jarrod Dyson’s two-out, two-run single made it 4-4. Salvador Perez’s sacrifice fly scored Eric Hosmer, who had singled for the first Kansas City hit. Billy Butler singled home Emilo Bonifacio, who led off the inning with a walk, for the first run.
Walker left after five innings and 79 pitches.
The Mariners, who had scored just four runs in losing their previous three games, scored four runs in the first four innings and chased Santana.
Gutierrez’s single in the third scored Nick Franklin, who had doubled. Brad Miller’s sacrifice fly scored Mike Zunino with the first run.
The Mariners made it 4-0 in the third. Franklin laced an RBI-single to center, while Dustin Ackley scored on a wild pitch by Wade Davis.
NOTES: OF Lorenzo Cain, who missed 25 games with a pulled oblique, was activated Wednesday, but was not in the Royals lineup. “I’ve still got to get the timing back,” Cain said. “That might be a little tough.” Cain will be restricted to a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-runner for a while. … Royals 2B Chris Getz, who left after two innings Tuesday with dizziness and an upset stomach, did not play Wednesday as the club was waiting on concussion tests results. … Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez, who left in the seventh inning Monday with lower back cramps, is still listed as the probable starter Sunday. “He is doing better, so, that’s good,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Let’s see how he is tomorrow. I’m encouraged that he’s feeling better today.” … LHP Joe Saunders, who starts Thursday, is 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals. RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who is 9-4 this season at Kauffman Stadium, will start for Kansas City.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.