Kansas City (13-38) at Seattle (23-32)

Fair Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Jun 2, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After breaking out offensively to end their longest losing streak of the season, the Seattle Mariners return to Safeco Field for the start of a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals.

Seattle (23-32) totaled only 13 runs during a six-game skid before recording 18 hits in a 14-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. Raul Ibanez, ejected for the first time in his career for arguing a checked-swing third strike in the first inning of Tuesday’s 6-4 loss at Texas, hit a three-run homer to highlight a six-run third inning.

“Raul’s three-run homer gave us a lift and from there we pecked away and found some holes,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “So much of this game is confidence. We haven’t had a lot of confidence-building the last six, seven days.”

Ibanez’s homer was the only extra-base hit for the Mariners, who are trying to post consecutive victories for the first time since winning four in a row from May 19-22. The left fielder also had an RBI single in the first inning.

“We had a shark mentality,” Ibanez said.

Ichiro Suzuki was 3-for-5 with four runs and played in his 294th consecutive game to break the Mariners record set by Edgar Martinez from 1994-96. Suzuki leads the major leagues with 77 hits and is batting a team-high .332.

Felix Hernandez benefited from the early lead Wednesday as he allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings. The Mariners, who concluded a six-game road trip, went 6-10 during a 16-day stretch without a break.

Jamie Moyer (2-5, 4.24 ERA), who was 1-3 in five May starts, takes the ball Friday for Seattle. Moyer gave up season highs of eight runs and 11 hits in six innings of Saturday’s 9-5 loss at Minnesota.

The 43-year-old left-hander has lasted at least six innings in all but one of his 11 starts this season. He’s 13-8 with two shutouts and a 3.48 ERA in 30 career games against the Royals.

Kansas City (13-38) ended a 13-game losing streak by winning the first two games of its series with the Oakland Athletics before suffering a 7-0 loss Wednesday. Mark Grudzielanek had two of Kansas City’s five hits to raise his average to .322.

Esteban German is hitting .363 for the Royals, but Kansas City is batting only .258.

The Royals, who were trying to sweep a road series for the first time since July 11-13, 2003, played Wednesday’s game shortly after general manager Allard Baird was fired and replaced by Atlanta Braves assistant GM Dayton Moore.

Bobby Keppel (0-0, 2.70 ERA) will make his first major league start for the Royals, who are 5-23 on the road. The 23-year-old right-hander has made two relief appearances since being called up from Triple-A Omaha and given up two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Keppel Cin vs. J. Moyer Tor
0-4 Record 11-14
5.50 ERA 4.30
20 K 108
15 BB 51
1.75 WHIP 1.32