Weather permitting, the Royals will try to hand the Mariners their sixth straight road loss Friday night.
After Thursday’s series-opener was called following a 47-minute rain delay in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kansas City (8-4) improved to 5-2 at home with the 5-1 victory. It is the Royals’ best home start since a franchise-record 11-0 mark to open 2003.
In his first road start Sunday, Hochevar earned his first win of the season in a 9-5 victory over Detroit.
Hochevar has walked just two in 18 2-3 innings, but he has already yielded six home runs in three starts. He’d given up eight over 17 starts in 2010.
“Even for the home run balls, if we have a lead like that, I’m going to be aggressive,” Hochevar told the Royals’ official website following his longest start since June 5. “I’m not going to try to pick at corners.”
Hochevar is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Seattle, both coming at home.
Ichiro, batting .460 (29 for 63) during a 15-game hitting streak in Kansas City after going 2 for 4 on Thursday, has two hits - including a homer - in six at-bats against Hochevar.
The right-hander, though, will face a Mariners team that’s batting .218 and scoring 3.4 runs per game.
Seattle (4-9), hitting .209 with 11 runs during its road skid, last dropped six straight away from home during an 0-7 stretch July 26-Aug. 1.
“To a man they are pushing a little bit to try to get out of this funk we are in offensively,” said manager Eric Wedge. “We had our opportunities, We just couldn’t take advantage of them.”
Designated hitter Jack Cust(notes), who is batting .175 with 14 strikeouts and no homers, will return to Seattle’s lineup Friday after getting Thursday off. Cust is 2 for 9 with a home run versus Hochevar.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Thursday that Aviles, batting just .156, will be in the lineup Friday and Saturday, but the play of third baseman Wilson Betemit(notes) is making it difficult to keep him on the bench. Betemit had a homer and two RBIs Thursday, and is hitting .387.
“I’m working hard and trying to get back as quick as I can,” Bedard said after throwing 83 pitches in four innings.
He is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in five starts against Kansas City, with none since May 30, 2007, while with Baltimore.