KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Seattle Mariners could use Franklin Gutierrez's glove and bat. Luckily for them, he could be back soon.
Gutierrez is on the disabled list with stomach gastritis but is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A High Desert on Friday. In the meantime, the Mariners' offense continues to struggle.
Seattle managed just six hits in a 5-1 loss at Kansas City on Thursday night that was called after 7½ innings because of rain. The Mariners are batting .218 with 44 runs in 13 games, and dropped to 1-7 when they score fewer than four runs.
Gutierrez led the club with 62 RBIs last season. The speedy outfielder also set a major league record with 415 errorless chances last season, winning a Gold Glove.
"We really do miss him," manager Eric Wedge said. "We're hopeful to get him out and start a rehab assignment (Friday). That's a very positive step. We miss his presence in center field and being around the clubhouse and obviously a right-handed bat, too. We need that from him."
Royals left-hander Bruce Chen (2-0) walked one in his fourth career complete game and second in his last four starts dating to his final game last year. He improved to 4-0 against the Mariners and has won his last six decisions overall to even his career record at 50-50.
Adam Kennedy hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for Seattle's only run. It was unearned after first baseman Kila Ka'aihue committed an error.
"To a man they are pushing a little bit to try to get out of this funk we are in offensively," Wedge said. "We had our opportunities, We just couldn't take advantage of them."
Doug Fister (0-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in seven innings for Seattle.
"I think he threw a lot better than his line indicated," Wedge said. "They weren't punching the ball around on him too much. They took advantage of some opportunities and that was the difference. I felt Doug still gave us a chance to stay in the ballgame. We just didn't do anything offensively."
Alex Gordon hit a two-run double off Fister in the third inning and scored on Billy Butler's single for a 3-0 lead. Wilson Betemit homered in the fourth and had a sacrifice fly in the sixth in front of a crowd of 8,811 — lower than Kansas City's smallest attendance at any game in 2010.
In Fister's three starts this season covering 18 2-3 innings, the Mariners have scored two runs. They have four or fewer runs in 10 of their last 11 games.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki singled in the third and fifth, going 2 for 4 to match George Brett's Kauffman Stadium record of nine consecutive multihit games. He's hit safely in 15 straight games in Kauffman.
NOTES: Brett had nine straight multihit games in Kauffman Stadium from May 1-28, 1979, when it was still called Royals Stadium.