A return to Kauffman Stadium proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Kansas City offense.
The Royals beat the Mariners, 6-4, to kick off a homestand on Thursday night at the K. The offense came alive after a slow start, and the bullpen did enough to help the team hang on late.
Trevor Cahill, who sucked in his Royals debut last weekend in Boston, was better in start number two. He made it through 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on solo homers by Kyle Seager and Danny Valencia. Mike Minor put out his fire in the fifth inning, but the Royals were in a 2-0 hole and had accomplished nothing to that point against Yovani Gallardo.
Then the fifth inning happened, when Brandon Moss launched a two-run homer over the right-field bullpen. 2-2, tie game.
In the sixth, the Mariners snatched the lead back on an RBI single by Guillermo Heredia, but the Royals again matched Seattle when Mike Moustakas came through with an RBI single of his own.
The game entered the late innings with the score tied at three runs apiece. It was like taking a page right out of the 2015 blueprint. The bullpen held serve until the offense broke through, and that’s exactly what happened. In the seventh, Alcides Escobar singled. Whit Merrifield reached on an error. Lorenzo Cain dumped an RBI single into right field. And then Melky Cabrera provided the first big hit of his newest tenure with the Royals, an opposite-field grounder that found a hole and doubled the lead to 5-3.
Joakim Soria shut down the Mariners in the eighth, which was something we all needed to see.
In the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Moss hit his second homer of the night. He’s up to 13 on the year.
Kelvin Herrera earned his 24th save by putting down the Mariners in the ninth inning. Robinson Cano collected a two-out RBI hit, but the cushion was more than enough.
The Royals are 56-51. Of course, the Cleveland Indians won, so they remain 2.5 games back of the division lead. Fun fact: of the Royals’ last 11 wins, exactly one has come on a day when the Indians lost.
Newcomer Ryan Buchter picked up the win; he is 1-0 as a Royal. The loss went to Emilio Pagan.
Also: Jarrod Dyson got a really nice ovation in the second inning when he came up to hit. I’ve never seen the Royals do this for a visiting player before. They played Dyson’s walk-up song as a huge “Thank You Jarrod” message appeared on Crown Vision, which led to a standing ovation from the crowd of 29,228. Dyson went 2-for-3 on the night.
Tomorrow: game two of the series brings a pitching matchup of Jason Hammel, who is not good, and James Paxton, who is very good (11-3, 2.68 ERA).