Lorenzo Cain drove in pinch runner Paulo Orlando with a walk-off single in the 10th inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Mariners Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium (box). With a 3-2 lead entering the ninth, the Mariners (74-78) had a chance to move to within two games of .500, but closer Tom Wilhelmsen lost his command and the Royals tied the score, setting up Cain’s walk-off hit. The Seattle bullpen is on the hook for 30 of the club’s 78 defeats.
Manager Lloyd McClendon made four late pitching changes, replacing Wilhelmsen to start the 10th with Logan Kensing and then Kensing with David Rollins. Alex Gordon greeted Rollins with a single to center. After Orlando came on as a pinch runner, plunked Ben Zobrist. Tony Zych replaced Rollins and Cain smacked a shot to right. Seth Smith’s throw to the plate was too late to ge tOrlando.
Leadoff hitter Ketel Marte extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a triple and a pair of singles. His triple in the fifth staked Seattle to a 2-1 lead, which Nelson Cruz extended to 3-1 with an RBI single.
Robinson Cano’s eighth-inning single to left off Kelvin Herrera marked the 2,000th of Cano’s major league career. The Mariners went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.Logan Morrison rejoined the club Wednesday after spending Tuesday in Seattle to celebrate the birth of his first child.
Seattle starter Roenis Elias tossed 95 pitches through 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts and four walks. The only run allowed by Elias came on s sacrifice fly by Alex Rios in the fourth inning.
Reliever Danny Farquhar gave Kansas City its second run on an Eric Hosmer RBI single in the seventh. Wilhelmsen had his streak of 12 consecutive saves snapped in the ninth when Jarrod Dyson’s sacrifice fly tied the score 3-3. Wilhelmsen had nothing in his one inning of work, allowing two hits with two walks.
“We had a lot of young kids trying to get through it and it just wasn’t good enough. You turn the page and get ready for another one. I though Elias battled and gave us a pretty good effort. Marte also did a nice job” — McClendon.
“I made some decent pitches, but just not decent enough” — Wilhelmsen.
The Mariners, 13-7 in September, have lost via walk-off 11 times this season and are 27-25 in one-run games . . . Felix Hernandez, removed from Sunday’s start after experiencing tightness in his elbow, will pitch Saturday in Anaheim, according to McClendon. Hernandez (18-9, 3.54) is pushing to get 20 wins for the first time in his career. After throwing against the Angels, he’ll pitch against the Astros or Athletics in the season-ending home stand.
The Mariners conclude their three-game series with the Royals Thursday at 5:10 p.m., PT. LHP James Paxton (3-4, 3.70) will start for Seattle opposite RHP Johnny Cueto (2-6, 5.12).