- Sports & Recreation
- Seattle Mariners
- Kansas City Royals
Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:
By Josh Liebeskind, The Sports Xchange September 26, 2013 1:27 AM
SEATTLE -- The Kansas City Royals enjoyed their most productive season in a decade, but it won't lead to October baseball. The Seattle Mariners extinguished Kansas City's hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 1985, beating the Royals 6-0 Wednesday at Safeco Field. The Royals (83-74) moved to the brink of elimination earlier in the evening when the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2, and the defeat against the Mariners (70-89) made it official. "I just think it shows a lot of the guys here how close they are and how much every game counts -- from April, May, from the start of the season -- because it can come down to the last week of the year to see who makes the postseason," Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell said. "I hope that gives guys motivation to come out and have a strong start and push through the whole year and not give any games away." The Royals' inability to stay in the American League wild-card hunt was largely in part due to Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma (14-6). The right-hander was dominant in eight innings of four-hit ball, striking out nine and walking one. "He handcuffed us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We couldn't do anything." Iwakuma ends his season with a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. He recorded a 23 2/3-inning scoreless streak earlier this year. He joined Freddy Garcia (2001) as the only pitchers in club history to pitch shutout ball for at least 20 straight innings twice in one season. The second-year major-leaguer lowered his ERA to 2.66, barely behind the AL co-leaders, Oakland A's right-hander Bartolo Colon and Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, both at 2.64. "It's just been a lot of fun to watch him have a great season and a lot of fun to watch him progress over here," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He does the work, he pays attention to the game, prepares himself well, and he handles himself well in a grand fashion, too, out there." "The way he was throwing the ball today was great," Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager said. "The way he was throwing the ball all year, he's done a fantastic job, and he really capped it off today in a big way." Mike Zunino hit two homers for Seattle, and Brad Miller added two hits. Zunino started the scoring by smashing a first-pitch fastball over the Kansas City bullpen in left field to lead off the fifth. Seattle added two more runs in the frame on a double by Seager down the right field line. Miller and Nick Franklin, both of whom moved into scoring position after an errant pickoff attempt, scored on the Seager's hit. The Mariners added a run in the seventh, then got back-to-back, two-out home runs in the eighth. Michael Saunders launched his 12th of the season to right, and Zunino followed with line drive that cleared the wall in dead center. The shot was Zunino's fifth of the season, giving the rookie the first multi-homer game of his career. Ervin Santana (9-10) gave up four runs in six innings for the Royals, who travel to Chicago to finish the season with four games against the White Sox. Charlie Furbush pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out Seattle's win. After a day off, the Mariners conclude their schedule with a three-game home series against the AL West champion Oakland A's. NOTES: Mariners manager Eric Wedge, whose contract is up after the season, addressed his tenuous job situation prior to the game. "Well, it's tough," he said. "I feel like I'm hanging out there, that's the reality of it." The team has yet to tell Wedge if he'll be brought back for 2014 or let go. ... MLB.com reported that Kansas City GM Dayton Moore wants to retain Yost. "Ned's done a terrific job, and I definitely want him back," Moore said prior to the game. ... The Royals' bullpen entered Wednesday's game with an American League-low 2.54 ERA. The club's previous low for a season is 2.80, in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign. Kansas City reliever Will Smith allowed two runs in two innings Wednesday.