Kansas City's Yordano Ventura isn't having any trouble living up to some lofty expectations.
With the way the Seattle Mariners have struggled at home, few would expect that to change Saturday night.
While the Royals' offense has found some success, Ventura looks to be the latest to silence the Mariners' bats as this four-game series continues at Safeco Field.
Ventura (2-1, 2.00 ERA) came into 2014 as one of the best prospects in baseball, and he's been backing up that status in his first full season in the majors. The 22-year-old right-hander's ERA, 1.03 WHIP and .194 batting average allowed are the lowest in the Royals' rotation, while his 10.25 strikeouts per nine innings are sixth in the AL among starters that have gone at least 30 innings.
Ventura punched out a career-high 10 in six innings Monday, but all three runs he allowed came on a Yasmani Grandal homer in his final frame as Kansas City (17-18) went on to fall 6-5 in 12 at San Diego. That ended his stretch of 18 consecutive scoreless innings.
"I was just trying to get it down in the dirt like I had all night and it just stayed up, and he was able to hit it," Ventura told the team's official website through a translator.
Ventura is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 21 innings over three road starts. He allowed one run and two hits while fanning six in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win in 12 in his only career visit to Seattle on Sept. 23.
He may find success there again since the Mariners (18-17) are batting .193 and averaging 2.92 runs in Seattle - both major league worsts at home.
They've totaled just two runs and seven hits in this series. Jason Vargas and a pair of relievers held the Mariners to five hits in Friday's 6-1 win after the Royals dropped the opener of this set 1-0.
Kansas City is last in the majors with 14 homers and tied for last in the AL with 91 extra-base hits, but 16 singles were more than enough Friday.
''We don't care how we get the runs,'' first baseman Eric Hosmer said. ''Any way we can produce them. That's what we need to do. As an offense, we just have to bear down and find ways to produce runs.''
Hosmer is 12 for 22 with a double, a homer and eight RBIs in his last five games, and with three hits Friday he improved to 12 for 29 over his past seven games at Seattle.
Trying to slow down the Royals will be Chris Young (2-0, 3.03), who is looking to win three straight starts for the first time in a single season since 2006 with San Diego.
The right-hander, who missed all of last season recovering from shoulder surgery, held Oakland to two runs and there hits over six innings in a 4-2 road win Monday.
"Stuff-wise, I'm not there. I don't know if I'll ever be. I've had three shoulder operations," Young said. "The shoulder feels healthy. I feel like when I've been healthy in my career I've pitched pretty well."
His only career start against Kansas City came in 2005 with Texas.
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