KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Casper Wells homered and drove in a career-high five runs, all of them against Jonathan Sanchez, and the Seattle Mariners beat up the Kansas City Royals and their beleaguered starter in a 9-4 victory Monday night.
Justin Smoak also had a two-run homer off Sanchez (1-6), pulled after allowing a season-high seven runs in a season-low 1 1-3 innings. The left-hander who once threw a no-hitter for San Francisco gave up seven hits and a walk before he was yanked to a chorus of boos.
Jason Vargas (9-7) took advantage of the rare output from one of the American League’s worst offenses. The left-hander gave up homers to Salvador Perez and Billy Butler, but still managed to last six shaky innings and win his second straight game.
Vargas went the distance in beating Oakland just before the All-Star break.
Ichiro Suzuki added an RBI triple, and Dustin Ackley homered in the sixth inning for Seattle.
His solo shot came off Everett Teaford, who was scheduled to start for Kansas City on Tuesday night but was pressed into duty after Sanchez was blitzed for the fifth straight start.
Acquired this past offseason for outfielder Melky Cabrera, the MVP of the All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium just last week, Sanchez has been nothing short of abysmal all year.
He hasn’t gone past the sixth inning since May 28, 2011, and hasn’t allowed fewer than four runs since early June. His already-bloated ERA rose to 7.76, and he’s drawn the ire of Kansas City fans for his almost nonchalant attitude during and after his outings.
Sanchez didn’t even give fans a chance to get comfy Monday night.
He walked Ackley on five pitches to start the game, and then watched Suzuki dump a single into left field before Wells belted a three-run homer to left. Jesus Montero added a single and Smoak hit his two-run shot, giving the Mariners a 5-0 lead after just five batters.
Sanchez retired the next batter to get through the inning, but gave up another base hit to Brendan Ryan leading off the second. Ackley added a single and Wells a two-run triple, giving Seattle a 7-0 lead and sending Sanchez on the slow trudge back to the dugout.
He still hasn’t won since his Royals debut on April 8.
All that offense came from a Seattle lineup that came into the night second-to-last in the AL in homers, runs and team batting average (.229), and last in OBP and RBIs.
Perez homered to help Kansas City crack the scoreboard in the third inning, and Butler’s two-run shot with two outs gave the Royals’ sullen fanbase reason to hope — at least, for the precious few minutes before Seattle came to the plate in the fourth inning.
Suzuki’s RBI triple put a crimp in their comeback hopes, and Ackley’s homer in the sixth may have dashed them entirely. The Mariners coasted from there to a series-opening victory.