KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- — Kris Bubic allowed two hits over 6 1/3 innings in his best start this season, and the Kansas City Royals beat Seattle 8-1 Saturday night to put another dent in the Mariners’ slim playoff chances.
Yusei Kikuchi (7-9) dropped to 0-3 in eight starts since winning at Tampa Bay at Aug. 3.
He gave up three runs and eight hits, needing 86 pitches to get through three innings, and he threw three wild pitches in the first inning alone. Kukuchi’s fastball averaged 94.1 mph, down from a season average of 95.3 mph coming in.
“I always talk about starting pitching setting the tone,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Obviously, Kikuchi coming out of the chute tonight with really no command of any of his pitches was a challenge. It’s remarkable that we were still in the game at that point.”
Kikuchi didn’t make excuses.
“I felt like I wasn’t able to get in a good rhythm,” Kikuchi said through an interpreter. “No walks tonight, but getting behind in the count cost me.”
Seattle lost for the fifth time in seven games and dropped four games behind Toronto for the AL’s second wild-card berth with 14 games remaining. The New York Yankees and Oakland also are ahead of the Mariners.
Salvador Perez had a run-scoring single in a four-run eighth, his major league-leading 113th RBI.
“It was fastball command early and then he added everything,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said of Bubic. “He was living on the corners with just about everything. He had a little bit of trouble early, but then he found it and got better as he went. The breaking ball showed up later in the outing. He didn’t give a lot of free passes, but when he did he figured out ways to get himself out of it.”
Kansas City stopped a three-game losing streak and at 67-81 avoided for one more day assuring its fifth straight losing season.
Mondesi and Michael A. Taylor hit consecutive doubles in the third, and Taylor homered in the fifth off Sean Doolittle.
“It was a three-run game (but) it felt like it should have been more than that," Matheny said. "We let some opportunities slip away. That one could have gotten away from us. To add that run was big.”
Abraham’s RBI groundout off Domingo Tapia cut the deficit to 4-1 in the seventh following Ty France’s leadoff double against Bubic.
World Series 2021: Dusty Baker makes these Houston Astros about so much more than a scandal
Hate Houston if you want. But as one of Dusty Baker's former players, I know there's so much to love about its manager.
World Series 2021: The best hitting and pitching tools in the Astros-Braves Fall Classic
Is Yordan Alvarez the biggest bat in the World Series? With Charlie Morton out, who's got the nastiest curveball? Kiley McDaniel has the definitive list.
Atlanta Braves' Game 2 starter Max Fried says he's 'not against' pitching Game 5 on short rest
Atlanta's Game 2 starter said, "We'll see how I feel over the next couple days," as the Braves look at pitching solutions in the wake of Charlie Morton's broken leg.
Jose Altuve breaks out to help Houston Astros tie up World Series against Atlanta Braves
Jose Altuve scored the first run of the night, then tallied the final one on a home run that moved him into a tie for second in postseason homers, as the Astros evened the World Series against the Braves.
How the Astros were able to rebound in Game 2
Eduardo Perez and Tim Kurkjian detail how Jose Urquidy, Jose Altuve and the Astros were able to get the win in Game 2.
Astros bounce back with Game 2 win to even series
The Astros score four in the second, and Jose Altuve adds a home run to level the series at one game apiece.