Royals cut Mariners’ lead for last AL wild card to 3 games

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brady Singer pitched seven solid innings to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 victory over Seattle on Friday, cutting the Mariners’ lead to three games for the final American League Wild Card.

Playing without All-Star rookie center fielder Julio Rodríguez, the Mariners lost for the sixth time in eight games. Rodriguez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain shortly before the game.

“You never know when a player goes on the disabled list, he’s going to be ready to play when he gets off there,” Seattle manager Scott Servias said. “After 10 days, all of our coaches and our medical staff think he should be fine at that point. He does a lot for our team, energy-wise, he’s top of the lineup. He is leading the charge.”

With the Orioles’ 6-0 win over Houston, Seattle’s lead over Baltimore for the third wild card spot was cut to three games. Both clubs have 12 games remaining in the regular season.

“We haven’t played very well on this road trip, for sure,” Servais said. “We won a couple of games when we went out and scored; We don’t have the other games. It has been a race. You can’t win 1-0 away from home.”

The Mariners got their only run on Cal Raleigh’s 24th homer in the second. They have scored exactly one run in five of their last seven games, all losses.

“Not capitalizing offensively, that was the story of the game tonight,” Servais said. “We got the opening three doubles and didn’t score in those innings, which was huge. We should have done it more offensively. We had a lot of chances, we just didn’t do anything.”

Singer (10-4), who allowed five hits and struck out eight, has won his last six decisions, and Kansas City has won each of his nine starts since Aug. 9.

“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff in there at the beginning of the game, but I figured it out throughout the outing,” Singer said. “It seemed like every time at the beginning of an inning there was a guy on second base. I definitely had to work on some stuff tonight.”

Royals manager Mike Matheny said Singer continues to improve.

“It’s the mix of confidence and other things, he keeps taking steps forward. He just keeps getting better,” Matheny said. “He’s passing every test you throw at him.”

Aided by two Seattle errors, the Royals took a 2-1 lead on a pair of third-inning RBI singles by Nate Eaton and MJ Melendez.

Kansas City added two more in the fifth, highlighted by Bobby Witt Jr.’s RBI double. Witt leads all major league rookies with 56 extra-base hits.

Marco Gonzales (10-15) allowed four runs, three earned, and eight hits in five innings. He has lost three decisions in a row.

“We’ve run into some tough baseball, some tough breakups,” Gonzales said. “We’re hitting guys balls and we’re running into tough breaks on the field. Those things are equal. Nothing to worry about.”

Vinnie Pasquantino had two hits and drove in two for the Royals, who have won four in a row, their longest winning streak of the season.

“We’re treating these games like they’re important because they’re important,” Pasquantino said. “We will go out to win every night and I think it is showing. The fact that we are technically eliminated does not mean that we are going to play like that on the pitch”.

PROCEEDINGS

Seattle retired OF Taylor Trammell from Class AAA Tacoma.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Mariners LHP Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.13 ERA) faces Royals LHP Kris Bubic (2-13, 5.81).

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