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Royals Jump Out To Lead; Hold Off Mariners

Facing what could be the coldest temperatures they will see this season, Kansas City held on the defeat the Seattle Mariners 6-5 Friday evening at Kauffman Stadium.  After Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Royals answered with a run of their own in the bottom half to tie the score, before eventually taking a 6-1 lead and holding on in the top of the ninth for the victory as Joakim Soria notched his fourth save.

Luke Hochevar was on the mound for the Royals and the Colorado native didn't seem phased by the damp air as he went seven strong innings, allowing just three base runners. Hochevar gave up one run on a hit a two walks, while striking out four.

Facing Seattle start Erik Bedard, Kansas City's offense was fueled by Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur who each picked up three hits in the win, Butler had an RBI while Frenchy picked up three, including a 436 foot shot to left field in the third, his second home run of the season.

Matt Treanor also picked up his second home run of the season for the Royals in the fourth off Bedard, who went 4.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits. After missing last season recovering from shoulder surgery, Bedard fell to 0-3 and has not won since June 7, 2009.

The Kansas City bullpen ran into trouble in the eighth inning as Blake Wood allowed one run on three hits to close the gap to 6-2, and then more trouble in the ninth as Tim Collins walked the first two Mariner batters. Royals closer Joakim Soria gave up three runs while giving up one hit, walking two, to go along with a wild pitch.

With two out and runners on first and third, Chone Figgins lined out to Mike Aviles as Kansas City improved to 9-4 and stayed top atop the American League Central with Cleveland, while Seattle fell to 4-10.

The two teams will be back at it again this afternoon as the Royals face the tall task of Felix Hernandez on the bump for Seattle. Sean O'Sullivan will be getting his first start of the season for Kansas City.

While it certainly is great to see Kansas City winning on the field, it is now time to start to wonder about Joakim Soria's struggles so far this season. Yes he does have four saves, but also is sporting a 7.04 ERA at this point. Kansas City fans should be watching the situation closely.