KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost goes to the mound, the pitcher normally goes to the clubhouse to start icing his arm.
Yost visited Jason Vargas on the mound in the ninth inning after Kyle Seager’s two-out double, but opted to leave him in the game.
Two batters later Dustin Ackley singled home Seager with the go-ahead run as the Seattle Mariners beat the Royals 2-1.
“Vargas said, ‘I’m in great shape. I can get us through this inning,’ “ Yost said.
He could not. After Stefen Romero’s infield bad hop single, which second baseman Pedro Ciriaco bobbled, Yost thought again of removing Vargas before facing Ackley, who entered in the seventh as a pinch runner.
“It is lefty-on-lefty and Ackley hadn’t swung the bat all day,” Yost said.
So he again stuck with Vargas.
“If it works out, you are smart,” Yost said. “If it doesn’t, you’re the dumbest guy in the stadium. I was the dumbest guy in the stadium.”
Ackley’s single to right on a 2-2 count scored Seager. Ackley is 5 for 10 off Jason Vargas (7-3), who took the loss.
“He (Yost) just asked me if I could get him, and I said, ‘yeah,’ Vargas said. “There wasn’t a whole lot more than that. I felt fine, I felt great in the ninth inning. Just a little bit of bad luck got us and I think we all know what happened after that.”
It was 91 degrees and humid for the first pitch, but Vargas did not use that as an excuse.
“I mean, it’s hot,” Vargas said. “I don’t think there’s any other way around it. I don’t think you can feel sorry for yourself out there just because it’s hot. You know what you signed up for. You know what Kansas City summers are like.”
After retiring the first dozen Royals, Chris Young yielded a home run to Alex Gordon to leadoff the fifth to tie the score at 1. Young gave up back-to-back singles to Salvador Perez and Justin Maxwell after Gordon’s team-leading ninth home run. Perez, however, was out trying to stretch his into a double.
“He’s really tough to pick the ball up,” said Eric Hosmer, who went 0-for-4. “He’s throwing 84-85 miles per hour, but he has such a long arm and his release point is so close to you that’s it really hard to pick up. He’s been real consistent for those guys.”
The Mariners bunched three hits leading off the third with Cole Gillespie’s single to center scoring Brad Miller, who began the inning with a bunt single and stopped at second on James Jones’ single.
Young, a 35-year-old right-hander who has had three shoulder surgeries including one last June, did not did not sign with the Mariners until March 27 after the Washington Nationals released him in spring training. He was pulled after seven innings, allowing only the run on Gordon’s blast and three hits.
Yoervis Medina (4-1) replaced Young and worked a flawless eighth, striking out two to pick up the victory. He has not allowed a run and only three hits in his past 10 outings, covering 101/3 innings.
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities, getting Hosmer to ground into a game ending double play.
Vargas gave up 10 hits and two runs in 82/3 innings, losing for the first time since May 19.
Robinson Cano went 0-for-4 to snap his 21-game road hitting streak, the longest in the majors this season.