Seattle (57-94) at Kansas City (68-84)

  • Game info: 2:10 pm EDT Thu Sep 18, 2008
  • TV: FSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jose Guillen’s recent absence didn’t interrupt the Kansas City Royals’ winning streak. His return, though, kept it going.

Guillen will try to continue his hot hitting while helping the Royals push their run to seven games for the first time in over five years as they try to complete a four-game home sweep of the lowly Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

Guillen became the highest-paid player in franchise history after signing a three-year, $36 million contract with Kansas City (68-84) in December. He leads the team with 20 homers and 95 RBIs, but the volatile Guillen has been embroiled in another controversy recently.

The outfielder was a late scratch for Tuesday’s 6-3 victory, leading to speculation that he was benched due to bad behavior, but Guillen and manager Trey Hillman said an illness kept him out the game.

Guillen’s health apparently improved on Wednesday, as he had a two-run single to help the Royals rally for a 5-2 victory.

“I was in the lineup, I just played, it’s as simple as that,” said Guillen, who has batted .414 (24-for-58) with two homers and 14 RBIs during a career-high 14-game hitting streak.

Kansas City is on its best run since winning nine in a row from March 31-April 12, 2003. A victory Thursday would give the Royals their first four-game sweep against the Mariners since Aug. 17-20, 1989 in Seattle.

Zack Greinke (11-10, 3.73 ERA) will get the start for the Royals. The right-hander allowed three runs and nine hits, while striking out five over six innings of an 8-3 win in the opener of a doubleheader sweep on Saturday at Cleveland.

Greinke is 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in six career appearances against the Mariners. He pitched his only complete game this season at Safeco Field on April 14, when he allowed one run and five hits in a 5-1 victory.

With Wednesday’s defeat, Seattle moved closer to its first 100-loss season since 1983. The Mariners have dropped seven straight for the fourth time this year, and are mired in a nine-game road losing streak.

“The losses have mounted up. They are tough losses,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said.

One bright spot for the Mariners was Ichiro Suzuki, who went 3-for-3 including his 200th hit of the year. The center fielder has gone 16-for-44 (.364) during a 10-game hitting streak, and matched Hall of Famer Willie Keeler’s major league record of eight straight 200-hit seasons from 1894-1901.

Seattle (57-94) hopes to salvage the finale of this series behind Ryan Feierabend (1-3, 5.79), who makes his seventh start of the year.

The left-hander has compiled a 9.88 ERA in losing all three of his road outings. Pitching in Los Angeles on Saturday, he gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss to the AL West champion Angels.

Both of his appearances against the Royals have come at Kauffman Stadium, and his lone start there was disastrous. He was reached for 10 runs and eight hits in 1 1-3 innings of a 17-3 defeat on July 3, 2007.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Feierabend TEX vs. Z. Greinke ARI
1-4 Record 13-10
7.71 ERA 3.47
26 K 183
14 BB 56
1.84 WHIP 1.28

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 18