SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Felix Hernandez pitched his way out of trouble in the first. The rest of his outing didn't go so well.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner gave up six runs in four innings, hurt by some bad luck, and the Seattle Mariners lost 9-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
Hernandez yielded nine hits, but four never left the infield, and three runs were unearned after two errors. He struck out seven and walked two, throwing 56 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
``Eighty pitches is a lot of pitches for four innings,' Hernandez said. ``It's one of those days for everything. They hit everything. I left mostly fastballs in the middle of the plate. That's why they had that many hits.'
Jarrod Dyson had three infield singles off Hernandez, stole two bases and scored two runs. Billy Butler homered and drove in two runs, and Brayan Pena had three RBIs.
``Dyson can make people upset,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``He can make entire defenses upset. He can make pitchers upset. It takes them out of their game. That's a component he brings. That's what speed do.'
Hernandez was impressed.
``Unbelievable,' Hernandez said. ``That leadoff hitter can fly. He got three ground balls and three base hits. Geez, wow. That's part of baseball.'
After Dyson led off the first with an infield single and stole second, Hernandez walked Lorenzo Cain. The runners moved up on a wild pitch.
Hernandez then struck out Butler, Kila Ka'aihue and Alex Gordon to strand the runners.
``What happened after that? They score six runs,' Hernandez said.
Yost thought the Royals might be in for a long night after the first.
``After the first inning, you could see why he won the Cy Young last year,' Yost said. ``He was dominating. We just started pecking away.'
Royals left-hander Jeff Francis allowed one hit - Ryan Langerhans' homer in the first - in five innings. Luis Mendoza followed with three scoreless innings, yielding one single and striking out four.
``Francis and Mendoza were pretty darn good tonight,' Yost said. ``They were very efficient. They were banging strikes, changing speeds and keeping the ball down. Both of them were very impressive.'
Hernandez said he is ready to start the season.
``I feel pretty good,' he said. ``I feel strong. I'm throwing a lot of strikes. I think it's more important I need to throw more balls because they are hitting everything.'
NOTES: The Royals optioned RHP Jesse Chavez to Triple-A Omaha and reassigned LHP Danny Duffy to minor league camp. The Royals have 40 players left in camp, including eight non-roster invitees. ... The Mariners optioned rookie RHP Dan Cortes to Triple-A Tacoma, and reassigned right-handers Manny Delcarmen, Charlie Haeger and Chris Smith to minor league camp.
The Associated Press News Service
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