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KC@SEA: Royals challenge safe call at second in 7th

SEATTLE -- Royals rookie Yordano Ventura fell victim to the long ball Saturday night.

Ventura, who had given up just two home runs in his previous six starts, gave up two blasts to the Mariners and the Royals were dealt a 3-1 loss as 29,359 fans sat through another cool evening at Safeco Field.

Mariners right-hander Chris Young held the Royals to three hits in his eight innings. Counting a single off closer Fernando Rodney, the Royals had four hits -- after getting 16 hits in a 6-1 win on Friday night.

"The offense just didn't get it done," the Royals' Alex Gordon said. "Same old story, we just need to be more consistent now. We're just not doing that day-in and day-out. One night we're scoring a lot of runs and the next night we're not scoring any."

That seems to be a developing pattern. In the series opener at Seattle, the Royals had just four hits and lost, 4-0. The day before that at San Diego, they had 14 hits in an 8-0 win.

Ventura, given a 1-0 lead in the third inning, yielded a two-run homer to Justin Smoak in the fourth.

Corey Hart opened the inning with a single and Smoak sent a 1-1 fastball soaring into the right-field seats, his fifth blast of the season.

"He's really good," Smoak said of Ventura. "The guy throws 95 to 100 [mph] and looks like he's playing catch, so you have to go up there looking for the fastball and that's what we tried to do as a team and we were able to get a couple balls out of there tonight.

"You're just trying to barrel the ball up and not do too much. That guy supplies the power for you, so if you can you just get the barrel to the ball and hope everything else takes care of itself. And we were able to get some big hits tonight."

The other long ball came from Dustin Ackley with two outs in the sixth. He also drove a 1-1 pitch, a changeup, over the right-field wall for a 3-1 lead.

"I fouled off a pitch, 0-1, then ball one," Ackley said. "I was looking fastball again and got a changeup kind of up in the zone a little and was able to barrel it up pretty good. I've had success with changeups up. I'll take it."

Ventura pitched 6 1/3 innings, departing after a four-pitch walk to James Jones in the seventh. He threw 96 pitches including 54 strikes and conceded his control wasn't at its best.

"I threw too much behind in the count so my command was not too good today but tried to go into the late innings," Ventura said.

Ventura gave up six hits, walked four and made a wild pitch.

"It was just not a good day, every day is not a good day. Today was a little bit of a bad day so I'll get them next time," he said.

The Royals' only run came after Mike Moustakas dropped a fly ball down the right-field line that got past Michael Saunders and rolled into the corner for a triple. That ended a 0-for-12 skid for Moustakas. Alcides Escobar's deep fly ball to left was caught by Ackley and Moustakas scored.

Saunders sustained a hyperextended left knee on the play and left the game after the inning ended.

That was all they could get off Young, a 6-10 right-hander who, at nearly 35, is coming off shoulder surgery and now has won his last three starts.

"He's one of the most deceptive guys I've faced," said Billy Butler, who had one of the three hits off Young. "He's really tall, got a downward angle, really good with the elevated fastball. You could see by how many outs he got in the air."

Young got 15 fly-ball outs plus three strikeouts. His eight innings were a season high for him.

"He's gotten better every time out," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We've got to remember this guy is coming off surgery and a very limited amount of Spring Training, so what he's doing is really remarkable."

Rodney got his 11th save, surviving a two-out single by Butler. He was almost picked off returning to first base, resulting in an emotional exchange between Butler and coach Rusty Kuntz. Rodney ended the game by getting birthday boy Salvador Perez to ground into a forceout.

That was the Mariners' 10th victory in their last 13 games. The Royals have a 3-3 record on the road trip going into the final game Sunday.

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