The Mariners seek their first four-game winning streak of the season when they begin a three-game series with the struggling Royals on Friday at Safeco Field.
Seattle swept its two-game series with the Oakland Athletics, following a 2-0 shutout Wednesday night with a 4-2 win on Thursday. After falling behind by two runs in the third inning of the finale, the Mariners shut the A’s down the rest of the way. Jose Lopez’s second homer of the year, a two-run shot in the sixth, provided the go-ahead runs.
The Mariners have won three straight games since a season-high six-game losing skid.
“These were two very nice wins in Oakland,” said Seattle designated hitter Jose Vidro, who had three hits and drove in a run. “It means we’re getting back to playing baseball the way we should. It was a tough six losses but we bounced back with three big Ws. When you’re not winning you’re hitting line drives right at people. When you are winning, things fall in. It all evens out in the long run.”
Seattle (8-9) will hand the ball to Horacio Ramirez (1-1, 6.30 ERA), who faces Kansas City for the first time in the series opener.
The left-hander allowed six runs, seven hits and six walks in four innings on Saturday in a 7-6 loss to the Angels. He threw 33 of his 81 pitches in the first inning and fell behind 3-0 before recording his first out.
The Royals (7-15) will counter with Jorge De La Rosa (2-1, 3.04), who pitched a career-high eight innings and retired 16 in a row during one stretch in a 3-1 win over the Twins on Sunday.
De La Rosa, though, has been inconsistent this season. The 25-year-old left-hander allowed just one run in seven innings in a win over Detroit in his 2007 debut, but failed to make it past the sixth inning in either of his next two starts, giving up four earned runs in each game.
With the eight-inning performance last Sunday, De La Rosa joined former Mariner Gil Meche - who has done it twice - as the only Kansas City pitchers to last beyond the seventh inning this season.
De La Rosa has never faced the Mariners.
The Royals split a two-game series with the Minnesota Twins, winning the opener 4-3, but dropping a 1-0 decision in 11 innings on Thursday. Starter Zack Greinke pitched seven scoreless innings, but the Royals lineup could not support him. Kansas City managed just one hit in the final five innings and stranded 14 baserunners.
“We had so many chances,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
Kansas City, which has lost three of its last four games and four of six since its only back-to-back wins of the season, is tied with the Washington Nationals for the worst record in the majors.
Seattle took five of eight meetings with the Royals last season.