Teaford, Gordon lead Royals past Mariners 2-1

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SEATTLE (AP)—Everett Teaford’s(notes) first major league victory was worth the wait. It also came in his first big league start.

The Kansas City Royals rookie left-hander, who labored five seasons in the minors, took advantage of his first start Sunday against the Seattle Mariners, allowing three hits in five scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory.

He struck out a career-high five with one walk, Alex Gordon(notes) supported him with a pair of RBI doubles and three Royals relievers combined to finish off the victory.

Blake Wood(notes) took over in the seventh and tossed two hitless innings, retiring six straight, four on strikeouts. Greg Holland(notes) gave up a two-out RBI double to Ichiro Suzuki(notes) in the eighth and Joakim Soria(notes) pitched the ninth to pick up his 28th save in 35 opportunities.

“It’s unreal,” Teaford said. “To have my 100th (professional) start my first big-league start and my first win of my career, and my dad here. … It’s awesome to have him in town. You can’t write a better story than that.”

Teaford, the Royals’ 12th round draft choice in 2006, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on May 17. He had a 3.21 ERA in 23 appearances out of the bullpen without a decision.

Having come through the system as a starter, Teaford was eager to get one. Manager Ned Yost told him Saturday that he would get the ball Sunday.

“I think he did very, very well, five shutout innings,” Yost said. “After that first inning (23 pitches), I thought we’d be lucky to get three out of him. Then he kind of settled down and did a good job getting through five.

“I did everything I could to at least give him the opportunity to get his first big league win. I didn’t want him going much more than 75 pitches. He did it. And the bullpen did an outstanding job from that point on.”

Kansas City got a break in the third inning when Alcides Escobar(notes) stroked a two-out single to left and Gordon lifted a routine fly to Mike Carp(notes). The left fielder battled to track the ball in the sun, finally losing it to his right.

Escobar never broke stride, scoring without a throw and Gordon was credited with a RBI double.

“That sun ball, things finally went our way,” Gordon said. “Escobar did a good job running that ball out.”

Anthony Vasquez(notes) (1-3), who entered with a 9.00 ERA in his three previous starts for the Mariners, went six-plus innings—his longest career outing— allowing seven hits, two runs with two strikeouts and no walks.

“He’s different from other guys,” Gordon said of Vasquez. “He’s got a soft change, soft curveball. He only throws 88 (mph), but with his soft stuff it looks a lot harder. He just mixed it up well. He’s different from the guys you usually see. We had a tough time with him.”

Vasquez put down a couple of minor threats in the middle innings. In the fifth with one out, he hit Chris Getz(notes) and Escobar followed with a single to center. He then struck out Gordon and Melky Cabrera(notes) lined out to center when Casper Wells(notes) made a nice sliding catch.

In the sixth, Eric Hosmer(notes) launched a one-out double into the right-center gap, but Jeff Francoeur(notes) popped out to second and Yamaico Navarro(notes) bounced out to short.

Vasquez, however, couldn’t escape a self-induced jam in the seventh. Brayan Pena(notes) opened with a single to center and then Getz laid down a sacrifice bunt. Vasquez booted it, putting runners on first and second with no outs.

Shawn Kelley(notes) took over and struck out Escobar when he failed to put down a bunt with two strikes. Gordon followed with his second double, a shot against the left-center wall. Pena scored but Getz held up at third and Kelley got out of the jam without more damage.

Gordon leads the majors with 45 doubles.

The Royals displayed their defensive prowess in the fourth. With Dustin Ackley(notes) on first, Carp lined out to Francoeur in right. He quickly threw to first to double off Ackley.

It was the Royals’ 50th outfield assist, most in the majors. It also was the most in the big leagues since 2002 and three short of the club record.

Notes: Seattle hosts the AL East-leading New York Yankees for three games beginning Monday. The Mariners will start their ace, RH Felix Hernandez(notes) (14-11, 3.15), Monday, followed by lefties Charlie Furbush(notes) (3-8, 4.84) and Jason Vargas(notes) (8-13, 4.49). The Yankees have a 2.5 game lead over Boston. Hernandez is 6-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 career starts against the Yankees. … The Royals have Monday off before beginning a six-game homestand against Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox. Bruce Chen(notes) (10-7, 4.30) takes the mound. He is 1-4 with a 6.59 ERA in 15 career starts against the Twins. … Royals DH Billy Butler(notes) singled in the fourth to break a 0-for-17 slide. … The Mariners struck out 12 times. In the four-game series, Royals pitchers struck out 51 Mariners. … RH Steve Delabar(notes) made his big league debut for the Mariners in the ninth. He is the 12th player to debut this season for Seattle.

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