Visitors to Kauffman Stadium seem to enjoy themselves, and the Seattle Mariners aren't any different.
Kansas City (38-51) has lost 12 of 15 overall to fall a season-low 13 games below .500, and the club's 15-27 home record is the worst in the majors.
The Mariners (39-53) are at the bottom of the AL West, but even they're capitalizing on the Royals at Kauffman. They pounded out 14 hits including four doubles and two homers to win 9-6 on Tuesday, jumping out to a six-run lead after two innings.
That performance was nearly identical to the opener of this four-game set Monday, when Seattle scored seven times in the first two innings and homered three times en route to a 9-4 victory.
"When you set the tone early like that and give yourself some breathing room, it allows our young players to go out there and relax and play and work to their true abilities a little bit easier," manager Eric Wedge said. "We've had some guys that have been struggling and working to find it. It's been nice to see them put some consistent days together. It's nice to see us swing the bats like that."
Justin Smoak has two-run homers in each of the first two games of this series, matching his home run total from his previous 35 games. Seattle's first baseman is 11 for 28 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last nine meetings with the Royals.
Millwood (3-7, 3.71 ERA) could use some help from the Mariners' lineup in order to get his first win since May 23, a drought that hasn't been entirely his fault.
The 37-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA during that stretch, while being backed by two runs or fewer in six of eight starts. He's been given two total runs of support over his last three outings, and got none in Friday's 3-2 loss to Texas as he yielded three runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Millwood is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in his last five visits to Kansas City, losing the most recent with Baltimore on Aug. 1, 2010.
The Royals have dropped seven of eight, but Alex Gordon can't be blamed. He's 14 for 30 over his last seven games, and has five hits so far in this series.
Gordon is 10 for 19 with five RBIs in his last five home games against the Mariners.
Bruce Chen (7-8, 5.50) is scheduled to take the mound for Kansas City in an effort to end his recent struggles.
The left-hander has allowed six runs in each of his last three starts, compiling an 11.85 ERA while going 0-2 and surrendering seven homers. He served up three homers in 4 2-3 innings of Friday's 9-8, 14-inning loss to Chicago.
Perhaps a meeting with the Mariners is just what Chen needs. He's 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 11 career games - seven starts - against them, tossing a six-hitter in a 5-1 home victory April 14, 2011.
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|June 13, 2012||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|Kansas City Royals|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 07, 2012||Felipe Paulino||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|May 26, 2012||Jarrod Dyson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right hamstring injury|
|May 22, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Left ribcage contusion|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Billy Butler took the first pitch from Josh Kinney leading off the ninth inning to get a good look at it.
Two pitches later Butler homered and the Kansas City Royals outlasted the Seattle Mariners 8-7 on Wednesday night.
Butler hit the 1-1 pitch from Kinney (0-1) out to left center for his 18th homer. Butler went 3-for-3 and walked twice.
"Billy is a special hitter," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He went up in that inning and said, `I'm going to take the first pitch and I know it's going to be a slider and take a good look at it and gauge it.' He sat on one and then drove it into the stands.
"Billy is not afraid to take a pitch or two to see what it is doing. He's a special guy, knows velocities, knows exactly what ball is doing, if it cutting or sinking. He studies that stuff real religiously."
Butler, the Royals' lone representative in the All-Star game, raised his average to .300, while he tops the club in home runs and with 56 RBIs.
"I just got a good pitch to hit and didn't miss it there at the end," Butler said. "It was big to pick up the pitching staff. It's obviously been a tough series for them, but they've picked us up throughout the season."
Butler was not sure if the ball was going to clear the fence.
"Never at night here," Butler said. "As the night goes on it gets tougher and tougher to hit one out of here. The air gets thicker. Earlier in the game I felt it would have gone a lot further. I knew I had at least a double, got on second base and had a pinch-runner."
Kinney threw Butler a fastball, but in the wrong spot.
"It was the right pitch," Kinney said. "I wanted to keep the ball away from that guy and make him hit it to right field, but the ball just ran right back over the middle of the plate. He's supposed to hit it. I just missed my spot. You just say, `Hey, good AB.' He got me this time. I'll get him tomorrow."
Greg Holland (4-2) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Lorenzo Cain , who had a pinch-hit homer Tuesday, homered in the fifth inning with Butler aboard. Cain, who also singled and scored in the Royals' three-run second inning, is 10-for-20 in his six-game hitting streak.
Royals starter Bruce Chen , who had an 11.85 ERA while giving up 24 hits and 18 runs in 13 2-3 innings in his past three starts, gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings, walking none and striking out six.
Chen gave up a solo home run to Kyle Seager in the second and a two-run shot to Casper Wells in the fourth. He has allowed nine home runs in 19 innings over his past four starts.
The Royals led 7-4 after five innings. Alex Gordon had a two-run double in the fourth, while Cain homered in the fifth.
The Kansas City bullpen, however, failed to hold the lead after Chen left. The Mariners scored three runs in the seventh off Jose Mijares and Aaron Crow . Jesus Montero hit a two-run single and scored on Seager's two-out double.
"That would have been a tough one to drop," Butler said. "There's no doubt, putting up seven runs and getting a nice lead and having the lead late in the game and them coming and fighting back. They brought their sticks this series."
Mariners starter Kevin Millwood , who has not won since May 23, allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings.
Mike Moustakas doubled home Butler in the Royals' three-run second. Brayan Pena 's groundout and Chris Getz 's bunt single drove in the other runs in the inning.
Notes: LHP Will Smith will be recalled and start Thursday for the Royals. He was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his past four starts with Triple-A Omaha. The Mariners will start RHP Felix Hernandez , who is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his past six starts. ...The Mariners placed LHP Charlie Furbush on the DL with a strained left triceps and recalled RHP Steve Delabar from Triple-A Tacoma. ... The Royals optioned LHP Ryan Verdugo , who surrendered six runs, eight hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings in his major league debut Monday, to Omaha. They promoted LHP Francisley Bueno from Omaha.