Thanks to improved play during a 10-game trip, the Kansas City Royals are no longer the worst road team in the majors.
The Royals (14-40) try to finish their road swing with a .500 mark when they meet the Seattle Mariners (25-33) in the finale of a four-game series at Safeco Field on Monday.
Kansas City began its trip with a 2-20 mark, but has won four of its nine games so far, including a 9-4 victory on Sunday. Pittsburgh has the worst road record in the majors at 4-22.
“It’d be nice to go home .500, especially with the kind of games we’ve played,” said Royals manager Buddy Bell, whose team earned its first road series win by taking two of three from Oakland earlier in the trip. “We’ve either played real good or real bad. So it’d be nice to go home .500.”
After losing its first two against Seattle, Kansas City erupted for 15 hits on Sunday en route to its second-largest margin of victory this season.
The Royals snapped a three-game losing streak during which they scored just one run and recorded only 14 hits, and snapped a nine-game skid at Safeco Field.
Right-fielder Reggie Sanders went 2-for-4 with a season-high three RBIs, John Buck had a tiebreaking, two-run homer and Emil Brown had a solo shot for the Royals, who have 10 or more hits in each of their last four road wins.
Mike Wood (3-0, 5.12) hopes to get that kind of support when he comes out of the bullpen to make his second start of the season for Kansas City. The right-hander, who earned the opportunity after Denny Bautista was reassigned to a relieving role, is 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA in five career appearances versus Seattle.
“This is my opportunity. I’ve got to take advantage,” Wood said.
Wood didn’t receive a decision in his first start of the season, a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on April 15. He allowed two runs, three hits, five walks and struck out four in four innings.
Gil Meche (4-4, 4.87) tries to avoid losing his third straight start when he takes the ball for Seattle. The right-hander won three in a row from May 8-20, but has lost his last two outings, including a 6-4 defeat to Texas on Tuesday.
Meche allowed six runs, nine hits, and five walks—all season highs—over 5 1-3 innings.
“The first inning was a little shaky but the second inning I felt great,” said Meche, who gave up a two-run homer and a grand slam in the third inning. “I didn’t think I was going to give up runs. … It was just one of those innings that got away from me.”
Meche is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts versus the Royals, but 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in two home outings against them.
Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre homered in his second straight game and is batting .368 (14-for-38) during a nine-game hitting streak. Ichiro Suzuki is batting .500 (11-for-22) during his five-game streak and is 4-for-6 with two doubles in his career against Wood.