KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New city, new time zone, same stinkin’ struggles for the Seattle Mariners.
An endless road trip staggered on Friday night, another abysmal loss stacked on top of the one before it.
Playing without injured r Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners managed just one run on offense and committed two errors on defense in a 5-1 defeat to the Kansas City Royals on a cold Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Baltimore Orioles (79-71), meanwhile, won their third straight game Friday night, shutting out Houston, 6-0, to pull within three games of the Mariners for the final playoff spot in the American League wild-card chase.
The Mariners (82-68) have lost six of eight games on this 10-game, 10-day road trip.
This was supposed to be easy part of the schedule, against three of the worst teams in the American League — the Angels, A’s and Royals.
And somehow it keeps getting worse.
About 30 minutes before first pitch Friday, the Mariners announced that Rodriguez, their prized rookie sensation, had been placed on the 10-day injured with a lower back strain. He won’t return until the Mariners’ final series of the season, at the earliest.
Without Rodriguez, and without injured third baseman Eugenio Suarez, the Mariners continued to cobble together a patchwork defense. And it wasn’t pretty.
Jarred Kelenic, recalled two days earlier, misplayed a bloop single in the third inning that allowed a run to score and allowed Nate Eaton to sneak into second base.
Two pitches later, MJ Melendez hit a soft single off Marco Gonzales to score Eaton and give the Royals a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Cal Raleigh hit a solo home run — his 24th of the season — off Royals starter Brady Singer in the second inning, giving the Mariners an early 1-0 lead.
That’s all they’d get.
Singer allowed just five hits over seven innings, striking out eight and walking two on 110 pitches.
The Mariners were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Three times the Mariners led off an inning with a double — Abraham Toro in the third, Carlos Santana in the fourth, Kelenic in the seventh — and they couldn’t push the run across in any of those innings.©2022 The Seattle Times. Visit seattletimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.