Mariners vs. Royals: Crawford goes yard twice, Kirby keeps it on the ground, and Seattle wins in extras

Seattle narrowly avoided getting swept with some late inning heroics from the Mariners in the final game of the three-game series against the Royals
Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners
Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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After losing an incredible 106 games in 2023, the Kansas City Royals have emerged as a potential playoff contender. Their 39-27 record could lead them to their first playoff berth since they won the World Series in 2015. They proved to be quite the challenge for the Mariners as the second opponent on their road trip but Seattle was able to come away with one extra innings victory.

Best Hitter: J.P. Crawford

15 PA, .357/.400/.786, 5 H, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K

Crawford had his best series of the year so far, leading the team with 11 total bases. Like several of his teammates, he's starting to warm up after a frigid start, posting a .769 OPS across 49 plate appearances in May and a .887 OPS so far in June over 38 plate appearances. He has been great out of the leadoff spot as well, hitting two home runs in two days.

His six home runs this year already equal the amount he had in all of the 2022 season, so it seems that the adjustments he made at Driveline before the season last year have stuck around. Through his first 185 plate appearances, he's slashing .226/.308/.396 for a .704 OPS that only seems like it'll get better as the season goes on.

Honorable Mention: Mitch Garver

14 PA, .182/.357/.545, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

Despite striking out four times, Garver tied J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger to lead the team with three RBI. His OPS was lifted by three walks and a 397-foot home run he hit against an inside fastball from Alec Marsh.

Garver is having his best month of the season so far, posting a .927 OPS over his first 30 plate appearances in June. He's finally starting to resemble the designated hitter fans thought they were getting after his 2023 season where his .870 OPS and 138 OPS+ helped lead the Rangers to a World Series victory. He's still got a ways to go before he gets there but it seems like he's moving in the right direction.