KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kyle Davies allowed only one infield single in six dominant innings and Kansas City handed Felix Hernandez his first loss in 10 decisions Monday night with a 3-1 victory over Seattle.
Billy Butler homered leading off the seventh against Hernandez (2-1), who had won nine consecutive decisions since losing 6-1 to Cleveland last Aug. 23. In seven innings, he gave up three runs — two earned — with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Davies (2-1) threw 63 strikes with his 108 pitches, walked three and struck out five before turning a 2-0 lead over to the bullpen starting the seventh.
The sparse crowd which sat through fairly heavy rain in the early innings grew expectant when the right-hander took his no-hit bid into the sixth. But with one out and Rob Johnson on first with Davies' second walk, Ichiro Suzuki slapped a bouncing ball toward the right side of the infield. The ball slowed in the wet grass as second baseman Alberto Callaspo came running in. He scooped it up with his glove and heaved it to first, but the fleet Suzuki was a couple of steps quicker.
A two-out walk loaded the bases but Davies ended his night by getting Jose Lopez on a deep fly to left.
Kansas City's much-maligned bullpen preserved the shutout until former Royal Mike Sweeney's pinch RBI single off Kyle Farnsworth with two out in the ninth scored Milton Bradley, who doubled off Kyle Farnsworth. Bruce Chen came in and got his first career save when Ichiro flied out.
The Royals got an unearned run with the help of Hernandez's throwing error in the first. After Scott Podsednik singled, Butler grounded back to the mound. But Hernandez threw the ball into center field as Podsednik went to third and later scored on Jose Guillen's single.
Mitch Maier singled with one out in the fourth and eventually scored on David DeJesus' infield out, making it 2-0 ahead of Butler's home run leading off the seventh.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Mariners, who have dropped nine of their last 10 road games.
NOTES: A heavy rain fell in the second and third innings but the grounds crew stayed put, figuring the showers would quickly blow through the area. ... The Royals won their second in a row for the first time this season. ... Despite the loss, Hernandez recorded his 18th consecutive quality start, extending his team record.
Eds: Royals 3, Mariners 1. SUBS lede to CORRECT day of week.