The Kansas City Royals probably haven’t enjoyed many of their return flights home this season, but that could change Sunday.
The Royals will try post a winning record on a road trip for only the third time in 2011, when they close a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners.
Kansas City (61-86), which took two of three in Oakland to open its trip, moved into position for a four-game series split with the Mariners (61-84) following Saturday’s 4-2 win. Felipe Paulino(notes) gave up just two hits - solo homers to Justin Smoak(notes) and Mike Carp(notes) - over seven innings, tied a career high with 11 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter.
Greg Holland(notes) and closer Joakim Soria(notes) combined to fan five of the six batters they faced over the final two innings. Royals pitchers have struck out the Mariners 39 times through three games.
Seattle has struck out 1,120 times this season - second-most in the AL and seventh in the majors.
Kansas City, which is 27-47 away from home, posted a 3-2 record on its first road trip of the year at Detroit and Minnesota, and went 4-3 versus Boston and Cleveland to close July. A win Sunday also would give the Royals the season series over Seattle for the fourth straight year.
Ichiro Suzuki(notes) and Adam Kennedy(notes) each struck out three times Saturday for the Mariners (61-84). Suzuki, now batting .365 in his career against the Royals, had been 7 for 12 in his previous three games against them.
“I guess it’s official now, no more (to be announced),” Teaford, who has 23 relief appearances under his belt, told the Royals’ official website. “I’m excited. … I haven’t started since April (for Triple-A Omaha), but I think I’ve done three innings the last couple of times.
“You just take that same mentality and go as long as you can, make good pitches and get guys out quick.”
In eight relief appearances on the road this year, Teaford has yielded just four hits and two walks in 8 1-3 innings while limiting opponents to a .160 batting average.
Vasquez (1-2, 9.00) has surrendered 15 earned runs and 21 hits - six home runs - in 15 innings following his Aug. 23 promotion from Triple-A Tacoma.
Facing the Los Angeles Angels for the second straight game last Monday, Vasquez gave up seven runs - three earned - in 5 2-3 innings while the Mariners committed five errors en route to a 7-3 loss.
“Vasquez deserved a better fate,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We literally gave them four or five runs.”
In his only start at Safeco Field, Vasquez was ripped for eight runs in four innings of a 13-6 loss to the Angels on Aug. 30.