Jeff Francis put together another good start for the Kansas City Royals, but much like Zack Greinke last year, the offense couldn't come up with enough runs as Kansas City fell to the Mariners 3-2 on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Francis went 6.1 strong innings, giving up three runs on six hits. He took the loss and falls to 0-1 for the year, with a solid 3.00 ERA.
Rookie Michael Pineda started for Seattle and tossed six innings, giving up one run on just three hits as he improved to 2-1.
Jeff Francoeur put the Royals on the board in the fifth when he doubled and eventually came around to score on a Brayan Pena sacrifice fly to center.
Seatte answered in the sixth with a run as Ichiro Suzuki scored on a Milton Bradley triple the scooted just inside the first-base foul line. Suzuki has previously doubled.
Francis gave up singles to both Justin Smoak and Miguel Olivio in the seventh and then gave way to reliever Blake Wood, who promptly gave up a 2 RBI single to Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan. Smoak lead Seattle with two of their seven hits on the day.
Kansas City rallied in the ninth against Seattle closer Brandon League when Kila Ka`aihue singled and scored on a Wilson Betemit single. Mike Aviles pinch-ran and stole second with Pena up to bat and two outs, but League got Pena to ground out and end the game, as he picked up his third save.
Seattle improves to 5-11 and avoided the four-game sweep while Kansas City fell to 10-5. American League Central Division leading Cleveland comes into town tomorrow sporting a 11-4 record. The important four-game set begins with a 7:10 game tomorrow evening as Kyle Davies (1-1 9.00 ERA) looks to get the Royals back on track against Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco (1-1 5.03 ERA). Looking ahead to Tuesday evening, Bruce Chen (2-0 2.37 ERA) will face Jeanmar Gomez, who will be making his 2011 debut.