KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals' stay atop the AL Central lasted roughly three days.
Brad Miller homered off Greg Holland to break a ninth-inning tie Friday night, and the Seattle Mariners sent the Royals to a 7-5 defeat - their second straight after a 10-game winning streak that had propelled the long-downtrodden franchise into first place.
'Every time we got a hit, the place was going crazy,' said manager Ned Yost, whose team dropped a half-game behind Detroit. 'It was a great, great atmosphere right up to the end.'
Miller's homer off Holland (0-2) came on the fifth pitch of his at-bat, and just skirted the foul pole in right field. Logan Morrison drove in another run later in the ninth.
'What a swing by Miller. Oh my goodness,' Morrison said. 'He crushed it.'
Holland said he simply missed with a slider.
'They're big-league baseball players. Big-league ballplayers don't miss mistakes too often,' the All-Star closer said. 'I made a mistake. Sometimes you pay for them and I did tonight.'
Charlie Furbush (1-4) inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth, but the Mariners reliever calmly retired Mike Moustakas on a lazy popup to shallow right field. Furbush then struck out Alcides Escobar to silence a sellout crowd of 38,475 and keep the game tied 5-all.
Fernando Rodney allowed two singles in the ninth, but the veteran bounced back to retire pinch-hitter Nori Aoki and then strike out Alex Gordon on three pitches to earn his 19th save.
'That was honestly one of the best baseball games I've been a part of,' Miller said.
Morrison added a two-run homer for Seattle, which overcame a subpar start from Hisashi Iwakuma to end the Royals' five-game winning streak at Kauffman Stadium. Mike Zunino added a solo shot and Robinson Cano drove in two runs, extending his hitting streak to 21 games.
Moustakas hit a two-run shot for the Royals. Salvador Perez homered and drove in two runs.
'Listen, we ran into a buzz saw. These guys are hot and everything is going for them,' Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. 'When you run into teams like that you have to play extremely well.'
Iwakuma went eight shutout innings in each of his two starts against Kansas City this season, and the right-hander was headed that way again with four scoreless frames to start the game. Along the way, Iwakuma struck out the side in the first inning on just 12 pitches.
Meanwhile, his offense was staking him to a 5-0 lead.
Cano, who has dominated James Shields throughout his career, drove in a run off him in the first inning and another during a three-run fifth that was capped by Morrison's homer. Zunino's solo shot came in the fourth inning, a no-doubt rocket over the bullpen in left.
The Royals finally broke through when Perez homered on a meaty 0-2 pitch in the fifth.
They didn't stop there, either. Lorenzo Cain followed with a double, and Moustakas belted his eighth homer of the season over the wall in right to trim the Royals' deficit to 5-3.
Iwakuma escaped the inning, but he quickly ran into more trouble in the sixth. Consecutive singles by Billy Butler and Gordon knocked him from the game, and reliever Dominic Leone gave up the lead when Perez hit an RBI single and Moustakas an RBI groundout to make it 5-all.
McClendon burned through three relievers in the inning.
Iwakuma allowed nine hits and a walk in five-plus innings. It was his shortest start since July 9, 2013, when he allowed six runs and eight hits in three innings against the Red Sox.
Shields went seven innings and still has not lost since May 2, a span of nine starts.
'It was a great to see the crowd come out, obviously a sellout. We love it when the fans come out,' Shields said of the rare packed house. 'We didn't get a win for them tonight, but hopefully they keep coming out and we'll get some wins here.'
NOTES: Royals right-handed batters were 0 for 23 against Iwakuma this season before Butler's single in the second. Butler had three hits. ... Gordon returned after missing a game to illness. ... Mariners RHP Chris Young faces Royals LHP Jason Vargas on Saturday.
The Associated Press News Service
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