Kansas City Royals’ late rally falls short in series finale at Seattle Mariners

The Kansas City Royals had a few chances to get something going against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon.

But their inability to deliver in clutch moments cost them dearly in a 4-2 loss at T-Mobile Park.

“You’ve got to try to capitalize as you know they’re going to generally be low-scoring games when you play these guys,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They have a good pitching staff and we put ourselves in a couple of spots to do some good things. ... Sometimes you execute and sometimes you don’t.”

In the sixth inning, the Royals loaded the bases loaded with none away. The middle of their batting order was due up against Mariners starting pitcher Bryan Woo.

Woo, a 24-year-old right-hander, was making his second start after spending time on the injured list earlier this year. And he was cruising, limiting the Royals to one hit through five innings.

Woo finally ran into trouble in the sixth and was forced to contend with shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. The young Royals star hit a sacrifice fly to put something on the board at long last, but the next two KC batters went down in order.

“Anytime you lose, it’s frustrating,” Witt said. “You’ve got to learn from it and move on.”

A very similar situation occurred in the eighth inning, when Witt recorded an RBI groundout with two men on and just one away.

That, however, would be the Royals’ final run of the day: First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino went down swinging against Mariners closer Andres Munoz for out No. 3.

In the ninth, the Royals (26-19) had one more chance. Team captain Salvador Perez doubled down the left-field line and Hunter Renfroe reached on a fielding error two batters later.

That brought MJ Melendez, and then Freddy Fermin, to the plate ... but Munoz struck out both men to end the game.

“You know, this sport is hard,” Fermin said. “We tried to do good things but we didn’t stay in the plan.”

Woo earned his first victory of the season and Royals starter Alec Marsh took the loss in his ninth start of the year. Marsh (3-1) pitched five innings and allowed two runs. He struck out seven.

Ty France powered the Seattle offense with a solo home run in the fourth. Luke Raley, a thorn in KC’s side all series, added an RBI single.

Missed previous games of the series?

Game 1: Royals fall 6-2 in series opener against Mariners

Game 2: Nelson Velázquez propels Royals to 4-2 victory in Seattle

Here are more notable aspects of Wednesday afternoon’s game:

Alec Marsh battles in 2nd inning

Marsh was tested throughout his start by a pesky Mariners’ lineup.

In the second inning, Marsh navigated the heart of the Seattle order. He faced several tough at-bats against Raley and Mariners star Cal Raleigh.

“We were throwing the whole kitchen sink at some guys,” Marsh said. “Raleigh, I showed him everything I had two or three times today.

“He was a guy we weren’t going to throw sinkers to, but we ended going to it in that first at-bat. ... He just poked that ball well over second base.”

Marsh saw his pitch count rise after the second inning but was able to limit the damage. Seattle scored a single run in the frame courtesy of a fielding error by Royals infielder Adam Frazier. Marsh was charged with an unearned run and escaped further trouble.

“Probably could’ve gotten ahead there in that second inning,” Marsh said. “But then we started to do that later in the game and good results followed.”

Home plate umpire Jim Wolf leaves game

There was a delay during the fifth inning Wednesday as home plate umpire Jim Wolf exited after being struck in the face mask by a foul ball.

Wolf was evaluated by the Mariners’ training staff before leaving the game for cautionary reasons.

First base umpire Ryan Blakney moved behind the plate and Sean Barber slid over to first base. The game was completed with a three-man crew following the 15-minute pause.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals left-hander Cole Ragans will be KC’s starting pitcher Friday night. Ragans (2-3) owns a 4.22 ERA in nine starts this season. The Athletics have not announced a starter for the series opener.

The Royals will be honoring their 2014 AL championship team all weekend, starting with a ceremony before Friday night’s game. The club asks fans to be in their seats by 5:45 p.m.