Kansas City (60-85) at Seattle (60-83)

Fair Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Fri Sep 9, 2011
  • TV: FSKC, ROOT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Seattle Mariners possess the AL’s worst offense, but it’s the Kansas City Royals who are struggling to score lately.

The teams continue their four-game series Friday night at Safeco Field.

Kansas City (60-85) has mustered only one run and seven hits in losing its past two games after a 4-1 defeat in Seattle on Thursday. The recent performances are a far cry from the previous two games, when the Royals won both against Oakland while totaling 18 runs and 27 hits.

Eric Hosmer(notes), hitting .417 with four homers over his last nine contests, drove in Kansas City’s lone run Thursday with a sixth-inning single. Alex Gordon(notes), however, went 0 for 4 and is 1 for 12 over his past three games.

Manager Ned Yost said he’s not concerned about his team’s recent lack of production. When asked about the offensive struggles the last two games, Yost shook his head.

“We were just kept off-balance,” Yost said.

That’s been a season-long trend for the Mariners (60-83), who have scored more than four runs once in their last nine games. Seattle’s .233 batting average ranks last in the majors, and its 490 runs are the AL’s fewest.

After managing one hit in their previous game, the Mariners matched that total in their first at-bat Thursday on Ichiro Suzuki’s(notes) home run. It was his fourth homer this season, and all have come leading off the game.

Suzuki also scored an unearned run in the seventh, marking the first two runs he’s scored in his last six games.

Justin Smoak(notes) added a tiebreaking two-run homer - his first extra-base hit in nine contests since Aug. 1 and first homer in 49 games since June 12.

“It was good for him, big for us,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s nice to see him hit it out of the ballpark but nice to do it in a situation where it impacted the ball game. He’s had a tough road the past couple months with injuries and whatnot but he’s one of the guys we’re really looking to finish strong for us.”

Seattle, which has lost six of eight, looks to win two straight for the first time since Aug. 23-24 when it faces Royals starter Jeff Francis(notes) (5-15, 4.72 ERA) on Friday.

Francis is tied for the second-most losses in the majors behind Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie(notes), who has 17 entering his start Friday.

The left-hander allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings of a 9-6 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. Francis is 1-4 with a 5.92 ERA over his last seven starts, with opponents hitting .329 in that stretch.

He has allowed 95 runs this season, with 29 coming in the first inning when opponents are batting .351.

Francis lost 3-2 to the Mariners on April 17 in his only career start against them, giving up three runs in 6 1-3 innings.

He’ll be opposed by Blake Beavan(notes) (3-5, 4.33), who is looking to bounce back from a rough stretch.

The rookie has tailed off since going 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his first six starts. Beavan has gone 0-3 with a 6.44 ERA over his last five outings, allowing four runs and seven hits through five innings of an 8-5 loss to Oakland on Sunday.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Francis NYY vs. B. Beavan Sea
6-16 Record 5-6
4.82 ERA 4.27
91 K 42
39 BB 15
1.44 WHIP 1.25

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 9