From 8-0 down, the Kansas City Royals rally to beat Mariners in wild walk-off fashion

When asked to describe his club, Kansas City Royals manager Matt Quatraro has typically settled upon the term “relentless.”

Often the words “dogged” or “unyielding” accompany Quatraro’s chosen adjective. On Friday, any of those words could’ve defined the Royals’ comeback against the Seattle Mariners.

The Royals faced an early seven-run deficit ... in the first inning. A year ago, the club would’ve packed up shop and prepared for Saturday’s game.

These aren’t the same Royals.

KC climbed out of its steep hole — eventually 8 runs down — and pulled out an epic comeback, winning 10-9 at Kauffman Stadium.

In the ninth inning, the Royals scored three runs to earn their 38th victory of the season.

“You’ve got to keep chipping away, and that’s why you play every out,” Quatraro said.

Royals infielder Nick Loftin worked a leadoff walk against Mariners reliever Ryne Stanek and later scored on a groundout. Garrett Hampson got aboard with an infield hit. That set the stage for the top of the Royals order.

Kansas City Royals designated hitter Nelson Velazquez (17) celebrates with teammates after hitting into a fielder’s choice to defeat the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2024.
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Nelson Velazquez (17) celebrates with teammates after hitting into a fielder’s choice to defeat the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2024.

Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. delivered with an RBI triple to tie the game. After slugging duo Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Perez were intentionally walked, Royals designated hitter Nelson Velázquez reached on a fielder’s choice to win it in walk-off fashion.

“Look for something straight and put it in play,” Velázquez said. “Something good can happen.”

And the Royals were were fortunate. Witt scored as KC rallied all the way back in front of the home faithful.

“With this team that we have, you’ve just got to do your part,” Witt said. “And the next guy is going to (do) their part. That’s just how resilient we are and how we play the game. ... We are never out of the game, like you saw tonight.”

Seattle clung to a 9-7 lead heading into the ninth inning, as KC had inched closer in the middle innings.

In the fourth, Royals outfielder MJ Melendez smashed a three-run homer to cut into the Mariners’ lead.

Later, Royals veteran Hunter Renfroe added a two-run single to draw closer. The Royals remained in striking distance.

“Even though we got down early, we got down early enough to where we gave ourselves some time to come back,” Melendez said.

The Royals fed off a crowd of 25,178 fans at Kauffman Stadium. They rallied once more to vanquish the Mariners in their 15th comeback win of the season.

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Here are more notables from Friday’s game:

MJ Melendez shines across diamond

Melendez continues to improve defensively in left field. In the fourth inning, Melendez showcased his athleticism by robbing Mariners designated hitter Mitch Garver of a three-run homer.

Garver drilled an 83.4-mph slider towards the left-field wall. The baseball hung up just enough as Melendez tracked it from his outfield position.

Melendez timed his steps as he approached the wall. Moments later, he leapt and hauled in the baseball to end the scoring threat.

“For me lately, I’ve been really focused even more — not that I really wasn’t (before) — on my defense,” Melendez said. “I feel like that’s been my way of trying to do little things right on defense to help the team win.”

Garver was denied potential extra bases. The Mariners were held to one run and extended their lead to 8-0. Per Baseball Savant, Garver’s flyout would’ve been a home run in 23 of 30 MLB stadiums.

The Royals cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. KC scored four runs off Miller and climbed back into the game. Melendez hit a three-run homer as he was rewarded for his defensive play.

Melendez finished 1-for-3 with four RBIs.

Daniel Lynch IV struggles in first inning

Lynch stumbled out of the gates on Friday. The Mariners greeted him with seven earned runs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.

Seattle sent 10 players to the plate in the frame. Lynch hit two batters and walked in the first run. Later, he surrendered a three-run double to Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger as the Royals fell behind.

Mariners second baseman Ryan Bliss capped the scoring outburst with his first career home run into the left-field seats.

“I’m always trying to throw strikes,” Lynch said. “I think that is one of the bigger frustrations of today. ... I pride myself in filling up the zone and throwing a lot of strikes. I just didn’t do that.”

Lynch threw 40 pitches in the inning. However, he battled through four innings despite allowing six hits, eight runs and four walks.

What’s next on the KC Royals schedule?

The Royals continue their three-game series against the Mariners. On Saturday, Royals right-hander Alec Marsh will start at Kauffman Stadium.

Marsh owns a 3.76 ERA this season. He allowed a season-high five runs in his last outing against the San Diego Padres.

Mariners ace Luis Castillo will be on the mound. Castillo looks for his sixth win this season as first pitch is set for 3:10 p.m. Central.