SEATTLE — Turning Wade Davis into a mop-up reliever isn’t a bad way to close out April. In fact, Davis was the other Wade on Saturday night at Safeco Field.
The Mariners scored four runs in the first inning and, behind a dominant outing from Wade Miley, rolled to a 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
"Any time your offense scores runs, especially in that fashion," Miley said, "the momentum, with two homers, the momentum is big time on our side. It’s the starter’s job to just go out and get us back in the dugout."
Miley (2-2) did that and more by pitching the first shutout of his career. It was also only his second complete game in 139 career starts over six seasons.
"He pitched a great game," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He commanded his pitches well and had a really good change-up, a good cutter and he spotted his fastball really well."
The result was the Mariners clinched their fifth straight winning series and, at 13-10, will look to close out a weekend sweep Sunday against the reigning World Series champions.
"Our club is playing well," manager Scott Servais said. "They believe in each other. I think we’re gelling, the personalities. It’s almost contagious the way we’re going about our at-bats.
"I feel like we’re going to win every night."
The Mariners roughed up fireballer Yordano Ventura (2-1) for five runs in four-plus innings by getting homers from Seth Smith and Kyle Seager in addition to six walks.
Ventura had allowed just six runs total in his four previous starts. The homers by Smith and Seager came in a four-run first inning.
"Facing a guy like him," Seager said, "it’s definitely good to get some early runs because they’re at a premium against him. He throws really hard. You definitely have to be ready for that."
The Mariners had a six-run lead when the Royals summoned Davis, the game’s preeminent closer, to work a stay-sharp inning in the eighth. If there’s ever a time an opponent wants to face Davis, that was it.
Miley gave up five hits in a 114-pitch performance. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter but, Servais acknowledged, was on a short leash when he went to the mound in the ninth inning.
"It’s a complete-game shutout," Servais said. "Those are hard to come by in any league, especially this one. He was cruising."
Smith gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead with a one-out homer in the first inning — and it was nothing like the lazy fly to right field that produced the only run in Friday’s series opener.
This was a 429-foot bomb to center on a 95-mph fastball from Ventura…and it was just the start. Ventura issued two-out walks to Nelson Cruz and Adam Lind before Seager turned on a 96-mph fastball.
That quickly, it was 4-0.
Miley caught a break in the third inning when Mike Moustakas’ two-out drive to deep center hopped the wall for a double. That forced Alcides Escobar to stay at third. Miley then retired Lorenzo Cain on a pop to short.
The Mariners extended their lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning after Seager led off with a walk and went to second on Chris Iannetta’s soft single into right. Ketel Marte’s sacrifice moved the runners to second and their.
Kansas City tried for a play at the plate on Leonys Martin’s grounder to second, but Seager beat the throw. Ventura then loaded the bases with one out by walking Nori Aoki.
But the Mariners couldn’t turn it into a big inning. Smith popped to third, and Robinson Cano flied out.
Ventura finally exited after starting the fifth with a walk to Cruz. In came Dillon Gee, who finished that inning with no problems but gave up a run in the sixth when he hit Cruz with the bases loaded.
PLAY OF THE GAME: After the Mariners scored four runs in the first inning, Kansas City started the second with a leadoff single by Kendrys Morales.
But Wade Miley retired Alex Gordon on a fly to center and got Salvy Perez to ground into a double play. A shutdown inning. Miley was rolling.
PLUS: The Mariners recorded back-to-back shutouts for the 21st time in franchise history. They enter Sunday’s game with a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings…Nori Aoki is batting just .205, but he drew two walks for the fourth time in five games…Seth Smith was 2-for-4, which raised his average to .298 and his on-base percentage to .423.
MINUS: Robinson Cano was 0-for-4 with a walk. His average is down to .226…Leonys Martin was hitless in three at-bats which dropped his average to .186.
STAT PACK: The have won five straight series for the first time since they won six in a row from May 18 to June 5, 2011…The Royals are 0-5 on a West Coast trip that ends Sunday. They have not scored in 26 straight innings…the attendance of 43,444 was the largest of the season at Safeco Field since the home opener.
QUOTABLE: Wade Miley on getting his first career shutout: "It’s cool. That’s what we try to do as pitchers every night. I was trying to go out and get outs. Personally, I was able to get 27 tonight."
SHORT HOPS: Nelson Cruz was hit twice by pitches above the left elbow — in the third inning by starter Yordano Ventura and in the sixth by reliever Dillon Gee. The second occasion occurred with the bases loaded. Cruz drew walks in his other two plate appearances…Not surprisingly, perhaps, Miley hit Alex Gordon with one out in the seventh.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners