Injuries continue to strip the Seattle Mariners of their top hitters as they try to stay on the fringes of the AL wild-card race. They may be able to get away with a thin lineup, at least against the Kansas City Royals.
Seattle (67-62) got three RBIs from Josh Wilson(notes) and a 2-for-3 effort from Mike Sweeney(notes) in a 6-3 win over Kansas City (49-79) on Friday night, one day after losing the opener of this four-game set 8-4.
The Mariners won for the fourth time in five games to remain 7 1/2 games behind Boston for the wild card. Taking advantage of a Royals pitching staff that has a 5.92 ERA over its last 42 contests, Seattle had a strong performance at the plate even though Branyan left the game with a back injury.
Branyan, tied with New York’s Mark Teixeira(notes) and Toronto’s Aaron Hill(notes) for second in the AL with a career-best 31 homers, felt a “tweak” in his back while checking his swing in the third inning. The veteran first baseman will be reevaluated Saturday.
Seattle was already without Ichiro Suzuki(notes) (calf) and Adrian Beltre(notes) (bruised testicle). Suzuki has missed five straight games, and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu isn’t sure if the nine-time All-Star will play this weekend.
Suzuki showed frustration at being held out with a terse statement through his translator: “I’m not here to play soccer.”
Beltre is eligible to come off the disabled list but isn’t likely to be ready until perhaps Tuesday.
Meche is 2-1 over his last four starts despite a 7.84 ERA during that span. He’s gotten five runs to work with in each of his last three outings.
The veteran right-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings of Kansas City’s 10-6 loss to Cleveland on Monday night.
Meche, who played for the Mariners from 1999-06 before leaving for Kansas City via free agency, is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts against his former club.
Seattle will counter with Ian Snell(notes) (2-1, 5.40), who seems to be gaining confidence against AL teams following his trade from Pittsburgh on July 29. He has posted a 1.54 ERA in winning his last two starts after matching a career worst with eight runs allowed in his previous outing.
The right-hander gave up one run and four hits in six innings as Seattle beat Oakland 3-1 on Monday night.
Snell did not receive a decision in his only career start against the Royals, surrendering four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Pirates in a 6-4 loss June 21, 2006.
He’ll face a Royals team that is ranked 25th in the majors with 523 runs. Kansas City went 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position Friday but got some unexpected power from rookie outfielder Mitch Maier(notes), who hit his second career home run.
Maier has two homers in his last four games after failing to connect in his first 341 plate appearances.