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  • 29 May 2019
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Things finally started to unravel for Seattle starter James Paxton in the eighth inning Thursday night.The full meltdown came when Steve Cishek entered in the ninth.The Mariners veteran closer gave up a leadoff single, plunked a batter and then served up a two-run double to Salvador Perez that allowed the Kansas City Royals to rally for a 4-3 victory to open their four-game series leading into the All-Star break.Not to mention ruin what should have been Paxtons big night.I dont know if you can be much more in control of the game to being on the wrong side of things in an inning and a half, Mariners manager Scott Servais said. Tough game to lose.Paxton only needed 78 pitches to cruise through eight innings, but he started to crack when Paulo Orlando hit a two-out double off him to get Kansas within 3-2. He retired Alex Gordon to escape the inning.Cishek (2-5) came on to close, and Whit Merrifields double, the hit-by-pitch of Kendrys Morales and the timely shot from Perez ultimately sent the Mariners to their 10th consecutive road defeat.How many times have we been through it? I mean, we fight. We keep fighting, said Danny Duffy, who kept the Royals in the game with 6 1/3 strong innings. Youre never out of the game with these boys.Brooks Pounders (1-0) earned his first career win with a scoreless inning of relief.Its a great moment in my life, the big reliever said. To walk away with a win in that game is just unbelievable. It says a lot about the team we have here.The win snapped a four-game skid for Kansas City. Seattle now has lost four in a row.You lose as a team, said the Mariners Robinson Cano. We dont want to blame anybody here.The Mariners built an early 2-0 lead not with a homer -- they entered the game tied for second in the majors with 128 of them -- but with old-fashioned small ball. Dae-Ho Lee scored from second on Dan Robertsons single in the second inning, and Robertson scored after a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly in the fifth.Nelson Cruz added a homer off Joakim Soria in the eighth.Those three runs seemed insurmountable the way Paxton was cruising along.He induced inning-ending double plays the first two innings, then another one in the third after back-to-back singles led it off. Ketel Marte then made a nice play ranging out from third base on Alex Gordons blooper into shallow left field to leave Brett Eibner on third base and end the inning.The worst throw Paxton made before the eighth wasnt to the mound but to first base, when Kendrys Morales chopped a grounder back to him the previous inning. Paxtons throw slipped and bounced halfway to the bag.With everything else going for him, it still beat Morales easily for the out.Pax pitched a good ballgame, Servais said. I felt very good about leaving him out there in the eighth inning. He certainly didnt have many pitches. His stuff was still good. Tough game to lose.STATS AND STREAKSMorales was 0 for 3 before getting hit by a pitch in the ninth, allowing him to extend his streak of reaching safely to 21 starts. ... The Mariners lost for the fourth time when leading after eight innings. ... Cruz homered for the seventh time in his last 14 games.ROTATION REMOVALThe Royals are sending RHP Chris Young to the bullpen and will start RHP Dillon Gee or LHP Brian Flynn in Sundays series finale. Young is 2-8 with a 6.90 ERA in 15 appearances, 13 of them starts. Hes also given up a league-leading 26 home runs despite pitching many of his games at spacious Kauffman Stadium.TRAINERS ROOMRoyals RHP Kris Medlen has been shut down after straining his shoulder during a rehab outing. Medlen was 1/3 with a 7.77 ERA in six starts before going on the disabled list in May with rotator cuff inflammation. He is going to be no-throw for a couple weeks, Royals manager Ned Yost said.UP NEXTRHP Yordano Ventura returns for Kansas City on Friday night after spraining his right ankle running the bases in his last start in Philadelphia. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will oppose him for Seattle. Swell Blue Marble Bottle ., for the next three years with the signings on Monday of Daryl Townsend and Michael Carter. Swell Water Bottle Sale . -- Ryan Blaney provided more evidence that Penske Racings No. . Thats not a comment on the suspension that banished the Portland Winterhawks general manager and coach from his Western Hockey League teams bench for most of the 2012-13 season. Swell Bottle Liberty Of London . Tevez, who has had conflicts with coaches in the past, has not been called up since Sabella was named coach in 2011. Argentina boasts Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria. Swell Bottle Uk Sale . From filmmaker Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes), The Price of Gold revisits the saga that rocked the figure skating world ahead of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games: the assault on Nancy Kerrigan, and the plot that led its way back to her rival Tonya Harding. Dont expect major changes in the South Africa XI when they play their first day-night Test in Adelaide in a weeks time. Early indications show they are not looking to shake up the batting line-up but there may be a spot for chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, who was seen practising alone with the pink ball in the indoor nets in Hobart during the second Test.I dont think we are going to change much. Its important that we maintain the stability of the squad and the structure of the starting XI, Linda Zondi, South Africas convener of selectors, said. Weve picked the squad based on what we feel will be the right combination. We are fortunate that weve got so much variation. If we feel Shamsi will play a role, we will definitely choose him but [Keshav] Maharaj has done well. Its a nice problem to have. It boils down to the case of the decision to be made and we will see the conditions on the day.Statistical evidence does not help Shamsis case either. He only bowled three overs in the pink ball warm-up match in Adelaide and was South Africas most expensive bowler in the next practice game, a regular red-ball fixture. Neither was he part of the South Africa A side that played two unofficial Tests against Australia A in winter. However, evidence from Indias Duleep Trophy shows that wristspinners can have success with the pink ball. Kuldeep Yadav, a chinaman bowler like Shamsi, led the wicket-charts and Yuvraj Singh said he saw batsmen struggle against wristspinners.Australias batsmen had a hard time against Shamsi in the ODI series in South Africa, which Zondi will be aware of. Vernon Philander is nursing a sore shoulder from his collision with Steven Smith, and concerns remain over Morne Morkels match-readiness. With those factors and a ball that wears quickly, South Africa may surprise by picking two spinners in the starting XI.The pink ball could also force a different thought about the composition of the line-up, perhaps with a push for more aggressive players upfront to maximise scoring chances. Quinton de Kock, or even Rilee Rossouw, whose form against Australia in the ODIs earned him a spot in the Test squad, would seem likely candidates given Stephen Cook has yet to find his stride on this tour. Zondi, however, indicated such drastic measures wont be used.You need to back players, its very important. A player shoulddnt walk into a match knowing This is the last game that Ill be playing, he said.dddddddddddd If you look at Stiaan van Zyl, there was a time when he was really struggling and we needed to back him and we did. You need to give players enough opportunity. Thats something we want to maintain. Yes, there will come a time when youve crossed the line but weve got to be fair in terms of saying weve given a guy enough chances and only then look another way.Van Zyl, a regular middle-order player who has since signed a Kolpak deal and taken himself out of the Test equation, was given the job of opening the batting when Alviro Petersen retired in 2014 but was not able to fit in. In eight innings between January and December 2015, van Zyl managed only 156 runs at 22.28, which included South Africas nightmare tour of India late last year. Yet, the selectors stuck with him for the return series against England at home. He was dropped only after he had failed over a full calendar year and was replaced by the in-form Cook, who scored a century on debut against England in Centurion.Cook has spent more than a decade in the franchise structures and was among the top ten run-scorers for seven seasons before being given an opportunity, and it is expected that his future will not be decided on two poor Tests in Australia, especially as South Africa are strong everywhere else. When you look at the different roles and the structure of the side, weve got enough combinations in the middle order with bowling allrounders as well, so even if the challenge remains upfront, its only fair that we give whoever we pick a good run, Zondi said.Another factor in Cooks favour is that South Africa do not plan on experimenting excessively, despite the series being won. Theyre chasing a whitewash and a consistency to carry into the home summer and the series in New Zealand, as they look to climb the rankings again. From a selection point of view, we try by all means to make sure we sustain and maintain the continuation of the side, Zondi said. Its about guys understanding and having awareness of their roles in the side. The more they understand their roles, the better for the team and the better for us as we are moving forward. ' ' '