Mariners try to claim series win over Royals

( - The Seattle Mariners look to lock up a series victory on Sunday afternoon as they host the Kansas City Royals in the finale of a four- game series.

The Mariners grabbed the edge in this set with yesterday's 3-1 victory, powered by Justin Smoak's two-run homer and a solo shot by Dustin Ackley.

Chris Young, meanwhile, hurled eight innings of one-run ball and gave up just three hits in Seattle's seventh victory in nine games. Young moved to 3-0 with a 2.63 earned run average on the season.

"I felt good," Young said. "The command was where it needed to be."

Fernando Rodney fired a scoreless ninth for his 11th save of the season.

Seattle, though, did see right fielder Michael Saunders exit in the fourth inning with a hyperextended left knee suffered while chasing down a ball in the outfield. He is currently day-to-day.

Yordano Ventura hurled 6 1/3 innings in the loss for the Royals, giving up both homers and six hits in all along with four walks.

"The pitch to Smoak wasn't a bad pitch, it was a fastball down and in," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The pitch to Ackley was a changeup (that was) up."

Kansas City, which was held to a season-low four hits, had won three of four on the heels of a five-game slide.

The Royals will try to split the set today behind Jeremy Guthrie, who has gone winless in five starts (0-2) since opening the season with back-to-back wins.

The right-hander did pitch well enough to win on Tuesday at San Diego, but was left with a no-decision despite giving up a run on four hits and a walk in eight innings. That left him 2-2 on the year with a 3.91 ERA.

Guthrie, 35, is 2-7 with a 4.90 ERA in his career versus Seattle, which counters with the 25-year-old Roenis Elias.

The young lefty has won back-to-back starts on the road to get to 3-2 on the season with a 3.27 ERA. He will face the Royals for the first time.

Elias beat the New York Yankees on May 1, giving up one earned run over seven innings while striking out 10. He then picked up an 8-3 win over Oakland on Tuesday, charged with three runs on five hits and three walks over 6 1/3 frames.

Kansas City won four of its seven matchups with the Mariners last season, but was 1-2 in the Emerald City.