Mariners, Yusei Kikuchi, fall apart in loss to Royals

Aug 26, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) heads to the dugout after the top off the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) heads to the dugout after the top off the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Things were looking great for the Mariners through the first five innings in the first game of the series against the Royals. The M’s had hit a couple of home runs, made it into Kansas City’s bullpen, and Yusei Kikuchi was dealing.

But… it’s baseball. Things can change in an instant.

Kikuchi seemed to forget how to pitch in the 6th, completely falling apart for the Mariners.

After an incredible first five innings, he looked like a completely different pitcher in the 6th. Through those first five innings, he gave up just one hit, one HBP, and had struck out three. No one had crossed the plate.

Five batters into the 6th inning, and the Mariners would no longer be up 4-0. Actually, they weren’t even up anymore at all. Here’s how the 6th went for the Royals.

  • Single
  • Single
  • Double
  • Walk
  • Kikuchi pulled, Smith in
  • Grand Slam

If that doesn’t ruin your evening as a Mariners fan, then I don’t know what would. Of course, the announcers during the game had to talk about the fact that the Royals had just hit their first Grand Slam in three years recently. I can’t be the only one that took that as a bad sign and wasn’t all that surprised when Salvador Perez went deep with one of his own.

What stinks even worse about this game is how many chances the Mariners had to score and failed to capitalize on. It started in the first. For some reason, they decided to try and have Haniger score from first on a double by Seager. No reason for that. Haniger isn’t the most fleet of foot, and they easily could’ve kept him at 3rd with just one out in the inning. A Ty France walk, an Abraham Toro single, and a Fraley walk would follow. It seems like just getting one run here was the worst case.

The Mariners would load the bases again in the 4th inning, again, with two outs. This time, Crawford would fly out to Short, and the inning would be over. The actual scoring took place in the fifth inning for the M’s. Seager would tie his career-high with his 30th home run of the season to make it 2-0. After a Toro single, Fraley would hit his 9th of the season to make it 4-0. Honestly, I think the Royals were probably happy it was only 4-0 here, as it could’ve been worse.

The Royals would go on to score those five runs in the 6th inning to take the lead at 5-4. It seemed like the Mariners would answer right away, as they lead off the bottom of the inning with a Raleigh double and a Torrens single to put men on second and third with no outs. Strikeout, strikeout, groundout, and the Royals would escape unscathed.

The last excitement for the Mariners came in the 8th when Kelenic launched a ball deep to left-center. Unfortunately, Andrew Benintendi had pumped up his shoes that morning and made the leaping grab at the wall to rob Kelenic of a homer. It took the air out of the Mariners sails, and they would lose the game 6-4.

Game two is set to get underway Friday at 7:10 PM with Logan Gilbert going up against Kris Bubic. It would be a great time for Gilbert to get back on track, and earn the Mariners their 70th win of the season.

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