THE FACTS: After a clean effort Wednesday night in a 3-2 victory over the Cubs, the Mariners made as quick turnaround Thursday, split their squad and lost two games.
The loss to Kansas City had a familiar feel. Felix Hernandez was dominant — one run in six innings — and departed trailing 1-0. The Royals added two more runs in the eighth against Danny Farquhar.
Roenis Elias’ flickering rotation hopes took a major hit when he started the game against Milwaukee in Maryvale by giving up two singles, a walk and a grand slam to Khris Davis. It never got better.
The two losses dropped the Mariners to 10-12-2 with eight games remaining.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Hernandez gave up his only run after bouncing a swinging strike to Casey Kotchman in the third inning after Christian Colon led off with a double to left.
The ball got past catcher Mike Zunino for a wild pitch. The Royals turned that miscue into a run when, after Kotchman struck out, Jarrod Dyson sent a sacrifice fly to center.
PLUS: Hernandez was in top form. He have up just two hits in six innings, walked none and struck out four. Manager Lloyd McClendon said, “It was a very good outing and one that I was anxious to see. It was very pleasing to the eye.”… third baseman Kyle Seager, playing in Peoria, made a short-hop pickup on Paulo Orlando’s leadoff grounder in the fifth inning look routine.
MINUS: The Mariners managed just two hits in 5 2/3 innings against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie…Tom Wilhelmsen gave up two more runs in his only inning against the Brewers. He has allowed six runs and nine hits in his last 4 1/3 innings…Farquhar gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. McClendon said: “He stinks in spring. If he had to make a club in the spring, he’d never make it. You’ve got to know your personnel…I suspect he will be just fine. His track record says that he will be.”
JOB BATTLES: Elias gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks in three innings against the Brewers…Tyler Olson retired the only hitter he faced, KC’s Alex Gordon in a left-on-left matchup. Olson has not allowed an earned run in 8 2/3 innings over eight appearances…Another lefty bullpen candidate, Joe Saunders, gave up two runs in his only inning against the Brewers.
QUOTABLE: “My fastball was good,” Hernandez said. “When my fastball is good, everything is better.”
EXTRA INNINGS: Some over/unders from online gaming site www.Bovada.lv: Robinson Cano’s batting average at .309; Nelson Cruz’s homers at 27 1/2; Austin Jackson’s steals at 19 1/2; Hernandez’s ERA at 2.69; Hisashi Iwakuma’s victories at 12; and Fernando Rodney’s saves at 35 1/2.
UP NEXT: The Mariners, with a full squad available, play the Royals again Friday — this time at 6:05 p.m. in Surprise.
Plans call for lefty James Paxton to start against right-hander Yordano Ventura, who is scheduled to start for Kansas City in its season opener.