What does it take to have journeyman Josh Kinney pitching for the Mariners in a tie game in the ninth inning?
Start by putting Charlie Furbush on the disabled list, which Seattle did before the game when the left-handers left triceps muscle, injured Tuesday, was still bugging him before the game.
Add in the need for nights off for right-hander Brandon League, who pitched in two of the previous three games, and for Lucas Luetge, whod pitched the last two nights.
Then mix in a five-inning start for Kevin Millwood, meaning that Steve Delabar and Oliver Perez had to combine to get Seattle into the eighth inning, when it was Kinneys turn.
Kinney is the last man in the Mariners bullpen. The 33-year-old has a World Series ring earned with the Cardinals, but hes basically a journeyman who has never spent a full season in the big leagues.
Kinney pitched out of a jam in the eighth, but in the ninth inning of a 7-7 game, Kansas City All-Star Billy Butler crushed a lead-off homer that gave the Royals an 8-7 win.
The Mariners never led, trailing 3-0 after the first inning and 7-3 after the fifth. But the suddenly resurgent road warriors came up with an RBI single by Miguel Olivo in the sixth and a game-tying two-run double by Kyle Seager in the seventh that capped a three-run rally.
Seattle had a chance to take the lead an inning later when Brendan Ryan turned a double into a hustle triple with one out. Dustin Ackleys job was to get the ball to the outfield, but instead he hit a tapper to second baseman Chris Getz. His throw to the plate was a one-hopper in the dirt.
It was a tough play for catcher Bryan Pena, but he got the ball on his right hip, then made the pivot to his left side, where Ryan was trying to score. Ryan got to the plate in time, but his foot was in the air, never touched the plate and umpire Jim Joyce, in perfect position to make the ruling, called Ryan out.
It turned out to be Seattles next-to-last chance. Ichiro Suzukis third hit of the night moved Ackley to second base, but the Mariners never got another base runner.
The loss ended Seattles first winning streak (two games) in a month, even though the offensive onslaught continued.
Casper Wells joined Ichiro with three hits, one of the hits a two-run homer in the fourth. Jesus Montero turned in his third straight multiple-hit game. Ryan had two hits and Seager hit a solo homer to his two-run double.
Millwood had one of his worst starts of the season. Pitching in 103-degree heat, he lasted five innings, giving up 10 hits and seven runs.