KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Throughout a two-week batting slump, the Kansas City Royals kept pointing to the outstanding pitchers who were shutting them down— guys like Roger Clemens, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt and Bartolo Colon.
Now Ryan Franklin has joined the list.
The journeyman right-hander, 14 games under .500 for his career and one of three major league pitchers with 10 losses this season, pitched a six-hitter Monday night to lead the Seattle Mariners over the Royals 6-0.
“I had a good sinker working really well and a split-finger that was really working,” said Franklin, who won 8-2 in Kansas City’s home opener and is 4-1 lifetime against the Royals.
“There’s something about this place. I always have good games here.”
The Royals have been shut out in three of their last four games and scored in only one of their last 37 innings. Since winning 11 of 15 after Buddy Bell became manager, they have lost 14 of 16 while looking like the hapless bunch that stumbled to a 13-37 start and got Tony Pena fired.
“It’s a combination of us swinging the bats not very well and us facing some pretty good pitching,” Bell said. “That’s not a very good combination.”
The Royals are hitting only .219 in their last 12 games. Showing little plate discipline, they have drawn only 11 walks in that span.
“We’re just not driving our pitches when we get them,” catcher John Buck said. “We’ve just got to go after our best pitches and when we get them, be more aggressive.”
Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer for Seattle, which has won consecutive games following a seven-game losing streak.
The 32-year-old right-hander struck out Angel Berroa, then got Mark Teahen to hit a high pop behind third. Adrian Beltre made an outstanding basket catch for the second time in the game before Buck rolled into a force play.
Beltre also made a standout basket catch of Terrence Long’s popup in the fifth.
“If I try to make the catches like he made tonight, I’d have skid marks down my forehead and nose,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Rookie J.P. Howell (1-3) gave up eight hits and six runs in his fifth major league start. The left-hander looked impressive in his major league debut while beating Arizona 8-5 on June 11, but has struggled since. He had eight strikeouts in his debut but has since managed only 10 in 19 1-3 innings.
After the Royals failed to cash in on their bases-loaded opportunity in the seventh, the crowd booed. Franklin struck out four and walked only one.
“You can’t take anything away from the guy who pitched for them tonight,” Bell said. “He’s a big league pitcher. I’ve seen him very good. I think we tend to swing out of the strike zone sometimes. We helped him out there a few times.”
Mike Morse, Willie Bloomquist and Pat Borders hit consecutive singles off Howell in the third, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead. Ibanez then hit Howell’s fastball 389 feet over the wall in right for his 12th home run.
Ibanez singled leading off the sixth and went to second on a single by Beltre. After Richie Sexson’s RBI single, Mike Wood relieved and got Jose Lopez to bounce into a double play, with the sixth run scoring.
The Royals also had a threat in the eighth with runners at first and third and one out. But Sweeney, Kansas City’s lone All-Star, hit a sharp grounder to Beltre and the Mariners turned it into an inning-ending double play.
“Sweeney hit that ball pretty hard,” Buck said. “One step to his left or right and that’s a double and everybody’s cheering instead of booing.”
A moment of silence was observed before the game for former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, who died earlier in the day. … It was the first time in nine games the Mariners did not give up a run in the first inning. … RF Long made a great sliding catch of Randy Winn’s sinking liner just before Ibanez’s three-run homer. SS Berroa also turned in a terrific play in the second, throwing out Beltre from his knees.