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Escobar hits first career grand slam, Royals beat Mariners

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The Canadian Press
5/11/2014 9:11:28 PM
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SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wants his team to take responsibility for this loss.

Right fielder Cole Gillespie committed two of Seattle's season-high five errors in a 9-7 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Royals.

The five errors were three more than they had in a game this year and the team's most since Sept. 5, 2011, against the Los Angeles Angels.

"One thing I don't do is make excuses for guys, so the onus is on the players in the locker room today," McClendon said.

Johnny Giavotella had a three-run homer in a four-run seventh inning, helping the Royals rally from a 7-5 deficit.

Alcides Escobar had given the Royals the early lead with a second-inning grand slam off starter Roenis Elias. But the Mariners rallied behind Dustin Ackley's two homers and Kyle Seager's two-run shot to take the 7-5 lead after five innings.

Danny Farquhar (1-1), though, took over in the seventh and yielded all four runs. Farquhar was upset by a critical call by home umpire Marcus Pattillo three batters before Giavotella's home run.

The Royals' seventh began with a double by Eric Hosmer. Farquhar then struck out Billy Butler and appeared to strike out Danny Valencia on a 2-2 curveball. But Pattillo called it a ball, causing Farquhar to throw up his arms in disgust.

"I'm pretty sure umpires don't like that," Valencia said.

Farquhar was upset and it seemed to have an impact on the rest of his inning. He ended up walking Valencia and Alex Gordon, loading the bases. Lorenzo Cain tied it with a sacrifice fly to centre. Then Giavotella, promoted from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday, hit Farquhar's first pitch for his first home run.

"Sometimes you want pitches and they are not called," Farquhar said. "You can't let that affect you. I want everything called a strike, so that is nothing different for me."

Valencia added, 'it's part of the game. It's going to happen. No one's perfect out there. Fortunately, it was in my favour."

Royals manager Ned Yost, when asked about Farquhar's borderline pitch, said, "We were upset when we didn't get a third strike on (Mike) Zunino, too, which ended up costing us two runs. That's part of the game."

That pitch came during the Mariners' three-run, second-inning rally. After Ackley hit his first home run to open the inning, Stephen Romero was hit by a pitch, bring up Zunino.

Starter Jeremy Guthrie believed he had Zunino struck out but it was called a ball. Zunino then singled to right and both runners scored on a double by Brad Miller, ending a 0-for-19 slide.

Greg Holland came on in the ninth to pick up his ninth save in 10 opportunities.

Louis Coleman (1-0), who worked a scoreless sixth, earned the victory.

A pair of errors in the fourth allowed the Royals to build the lead by to 5-3. Giavotella walked and Escobar singled. Catcher Zunino tried to pick Giavotella off second but his throw scooted into centre for an error, with the runners advancing. First baseman Justin Smoak then bobbled Nori Aoki's bouncer, allowing Giavotella to score.

Seager, who missed the previous two games with flu-like symptoms, hit his sixth home run in the fourth followed by Ackley's second, his first career multihomer game. Ackley also had a home run in the sixth inning Saturday, giving him three in three straight at-bats. He has four on the season.

"I've been seeing the ball pretty well," Ackley said, "putting good swings on balls and not missing things."

The Mariners added a run in the fifth on Corey Hart's two-out single, scoring James Jones from second.

Entering the game, the Royals had hit just 14 home runs, lowest in baseball. But seven of their nine runs scored via the long ball.

"Sometimes errors are as contagious as hitting is," Ackley added. "Anything is contagious. We just have to scratch this one and move on. It was a tough game. I think we should have won it."

NOTES: Mariners RF Michael Saunders, who slipped chasing a flyball in the third inning of Saturday's game, missed the game with a hyper-extended left knee. "It's a little sore but nothing that's going to hinder me from missing significant time," Saunders said. He pinch hit in the eighth and struck out. ... Mariners pitchers James Paxton (strained lat muscle) and Taijuan Walker (shoulder impingement) threw bullpen sessions before the game. Paxton is up to 40 pitches and will have another session Wednesday before a decision will be made where he will pitch next. Walker threw 25 pitches and will need at least a couple more sessions before the club considers a rehab assignment.

Alcides Escobar (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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