Judging by their recent play, the Kansas City Royals seem determined not to lose 100 games.
The Royals try to match a season high with a fourth straight victory Friday when they continue a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners in a battle of last-place teams at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City (57-90) is trying to avoid becoming the first non-expansion team to post three straight 100-loss seasons. It went 58-104 in 2004 and 56-106 last year.
The Royals seemed poised for a similar season this year until winning 10 of their last 15 games. They’ve taken series against contending teams Minnesota and Chicago in that stretch, giving them hope for the future.
“I don’t think anybody is consumed with avoiding 100 losses,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “But we are consumed with putting the best team out there every night that we can. We’re consumed with playing the game the right way.”
Kansas City has to win six of its final 15 games to avoid triple-digit losses.
“I’m working hard every day,” said Shealy, acquired from Colorado in a July 31 trade. “It’s not easy to come to the big leagues right away and immediately show power. I’ve been battling hard since I got here, and hopefully we’ll see more games like tonight.”
Kansas City has batted .328 in winning five of its last six games.
Royals starter Luke Hudson (7-5, 5.25) is 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA over his last six home starts. He’s struck out 24 and yielded three homers in that span.
The right-hander will be facing Seattle (69-77) for the first time in his career.
The Mariners have dropped 15 of their last 18 road games.
Leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in Thursday’s loss. He’s 40-for-86 with 18 runs and 21 RBIs in his last 21 games against the Royals.
The Mariners will send Francisco Cruceta (0-0, 6.75) to the mound for his first start of the year. He went 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA in two September starts with Cleveland in 2004.
The right-hander was 13-9 with a 4.38 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma this year and led the Pacific Coast League with 185 strikeouts.
“Cruceta has thrown the ball well in Triple-A and we want to see him,” manager Mike Hargrove said.