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Out of Right Field: Recap, takeaways from the Mariners’ 6-3 victory against the Kansas City Royals

UPDATED: Tue., April 9, 2019, 8:37 p.m.

The Mariners’ Jay Bruce, right, is congratulated by teammate Daniel Vogelbach, left, after his solo home run during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)
The Mariners’ Jay Bruce, right, is congratulated by teammate Daniel Vogelbach, left, after his solo home run during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)
By Gene Warnick The Spokesman-Review

Jay Bruce homered for the third consecutive game (the second time he’s done so this season, no less) and left-hander Marco Gonzales pitched six strong innings to lead the Mariners to a 6-3 victory against the host Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Gonzales (4-0), the former Gonzaga standout, allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits. He walked two batters and struck out five.

Bruce hit a solo shot with two outs in the first inning. It was his seventh home run of the season, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger for the major-league lead.

It was also the 13th straight game with a home run for the Mariners, tied for the second longest streak to start a season in MLB history. The 2002 Cleveland Indians hold the record with 14, while the M’s are tied with the 1954 Chicago Cubs and 2017 Detroit Tigers.

The Mariners’ Dee Gordon hit a two-run single in the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie.

Of note

Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield hit a triple in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 30 games, equaling George Brett’s club record. … The Mariners recalled RHP Erik Swanson, acquired as part of the offseason trade with the New York Yankees for James Paxton, from Triple-A Tacoma and placed reliever Chasen Bradford on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. … SS Tim Beckham didn’t play for the second straight game with a tight hamstring, but manager Scott Servais said it was only a precautionary measure and that Beckham was available if needed.

By the numbers

4: Gonzales became the second pitcher in franchise history to start and win each of his first four games in a season. Rick Honeycutt, the longtime Dodgers pitching coach, won his first six appearances for the M’s in the 1980 season.

Our take from right field

Yes, the Mariners won again. And their home run streak was extended. But the lasting image of this game will be the faux pas by OF Mallex Smith in the bottom of the third inning. With the Royals’ Billy Hamilton on second base, Adalberto Mondesi hit a fly ball just shy of the warning track in straightaway center field. Smith went down to a knee while catching the ball and either was in no hurry to throw the ball back in or forgot how many outs there were. Hamilton, considered perhaps the fastest player in baseball, scored from second base on the unlikely sacrifice fly. The Mariners’ defense is suspect as is, but making a mental mistake like that is, well, stupid.

Up next

The Mariners and Royals continue their four-game series at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 4.02 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound against Royals RHP Heath Fillmyer, who was called up Tuesday from Triple-A Omaha.

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