KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Nelson Cruz helped Seattle quickly build a big lead. Then the Mariners kept going to their bullpen to protect it.

Cruz homered twice and drove in four runs as the Mariners held off the Kansas City Royals 8-7 Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Cruz, Danny Valencia and Kyle Seager homered in the first two innings as the Mariners took a 7-0 lead off Danny Duffy (7-7).

Seattle wound up using eight pitchers.

“We needed every run,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We got off to a great start against Duffy and then we challenged a lot of our guys in the bullpen and everybody chipped in.

Cruz, who leads the American League with 84 RBIs, hit a three-run drive in a four-run second. He hit his 24th home run in the seventh off Scott Alexander, a shot estimated at 465 feet to center. It was Cruz’s 22nd multihomer game, his first this season.

Duffy could have been out of the second inning with Robinson Cano striking out, but catcher Drew Butera was charged with a passed ball, allowing Cano to reach first and for Jean Segura to score from second base. Four pitches later, Cruz homered.

Earlier in the inning, Duffy thought he had struck out Segura on a close pitch.

“That put us in a really big hole when you give a major league team, especially with that kind of power, four or five outs. It’s going to be tough to come out of the inning unscathed,” Duffy said.

Marco Gonzalez, who was making his Mariners’ debut since being acquired in a July 21 with St. Louis, failed to make it through the fifth inning. James Pazos (3-3) won in relief and Edwin Diaz posted his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

“My command kind of stunk a little bit,” Gonzalez said. “A costly walk and that’s kind of how it added up in the fifth inning.”

Segura led off the game with a walk and scored on Valencia’s 13th home run. Seager homered with two outs in the first.

Whit Merrifield hit a two-run homer in the third. Butera walked and Merrifield singled to lead off the fifth. Lorenzo Cain’s double scored Butera and Gonzalez was replaced by Pazos.

Eric Hosmer had an RBI grounder and Melky Cabrera had sacrifice fly, trimming the Mariners’ lead to 7-5.

Mike Moustakas hit his 31st homer, a two-run drive, in the eighth.

Duffy left after 5 1/3 innings, yielding a season-worst seven runs, but only three earned, while striking out eight.

“Seven runs is a big hole to climb out of early,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Credit the offense. Anytime you can battle back with the winning run at the plate in the last inning, our offense has done a great job, but just a lot to overcome.”


The Athletics traded All-Star 1B Yoder Alonso to the Mariners for minor league OF Boog Powell. The left-handed hitting Alonso will be used primarily in a platoon with 1B Valencia. Alonso has 22 home runs and 49 RBIs.


The doubleheader was caused by Saturday’s rainout, the first for the Mariners since April 30, 2014. They had played 572 consecutive scheduled games, which was the longest streak in the majors, before the washout.


Mariners: RHP David Phelps left in seventh with elbow discomfort after throwing seven pitches. … RHP Felix Hernandez, who went on the disabled list Saturday with biceps tendinitis, returned to Seattle and will be examined by team doctors Monday with a MRI scheduled.

Royals: C Salvador Perez went on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with a right intercostal strain. The club recalled C Cameron Gallagher from Triple-A Omaha, who made his big league debut.


Mariners: Off Monday and will start LHP Ariel Miranda (7-5, 4.41) Tuesday at Oakland.

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-7, 4.60) will start the opener of a four-game series Monday against the Cardinals with the first two games in Kauffman Stadium. RHP Carlos Martinez (7-9, 3.59) will start for St. Louis.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.


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