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Velázquez propels Royals to victory in Seattle, where wins had eluded KC of late

There is an old adage: “Good things come to those who wait.”

And Kansas City Royals designated hitter Nelson Velázquez had certainly waited a long time to hit his third home run of the season — more than a month, in fact.

Velázquez finally snapped that homer drought on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. He drilled an 86.3 mph slider over the left-field wall and lifted the Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Mariners.

Velázquez hadn’t homered in 31 games — 97 at-bats. His last home run came on April 4 against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City Royals designated hitter Nelson Velazquez looks skyward while crossing home plate after hitting a three-run home run during Tuesday night’s game against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Nelson Velazquez looks skyward while crossing home plate after hitting a three-run home run during Tuesday night’s game against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

But he stepped up in a key situation Tuesday when the Royals (26-18) were stuck in neutral against Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert. The 6-foot-6 right-hander tossed six scoreless innings and had returned to the mound in the seventh to finish his outing.

Gilbert, who entered with a 2.94 earned-run average, ran out of gas instead. He issued a leadoff walk to Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. and soon after intentionally walked team captain Salvador Perez.

Velázquez took advantage of the situation by pulling an inside slider from Gilbert over the outfield fence. The blast gave Kansas City its first lead of the series after two challenging nights against the Mariners’ pitching staff.

The home run also helped Royals starting pitcher Michael Wacha earn earn his third victory of the year.

The veteran right-hander allowed just one run in six innings. He walked two and struck out seven, throwing 54 of 98 pitches for strikes.

Mariners outfielder Luke Raley accounted Seattle’s early offense. He hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to give the Mariners an early lead.

The Royals continued to grind out at-bats late. Maikel Garcia hit an RBI single in the eighth inning to provide a key insurance run.

From there, the Royals turned to their bullpen. Relievers John Schreiber and James McArthur shut the door late.

McArthur allowed a late home run to Mitch Haniger but recovered to collect his 10th save. The Royals won their fourth game on this road trip and evened the three-game series in Seattle.

Missed previous Royals coverage?

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

Great Catch: Mariners fan hauls in two foul balls in consecutive order

Here are more notable aspects of Tuesday’ nights game:

Michael Wacha dazzles against Mariners

Wacha added to his solid road trip. In his last start, he allowed three runs (two earned) against the Los Angeles Angels.

His success away from The K continued on Tuesday evening. Wacha limited Seattle to one run with a dynamic pitching arsenal, utilizing his changeup and cutter effectively to keep the Mariners off-balance.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Michael Wacha delivers against the Mariners during Tuesday night’s game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Michael Wacha delivers against the Mariners during Tuesday night’s game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

He registered a combined 24 swings and 10 whiffs with those pitches, per Baseball Savant.

In the second inning, Wacha struck out the middle of Seattle’s order: Raley, Cal Raleigh and Dylan Moore.

Later, the Royals’ three-run seventh inning gave Wacha the support he needed to cruise through the Mariners’ order one final time.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals conclude their three-game series against the Mariners on Wednesday.

Royals right-hander Alec Marsh draws the matinee start at T-Mobile Park. Marsh (3-0) owns a 2.53 ERA in six starts this season. He set a season-high with seven strikeouts in his last start (against the Los Angeles Angels).

The Royals have won all six of Marsh’s starts this year.

The Mariners will send right-hander Bryan Woo to the mound. He will be making his second start of the season.