SEATTLE (AP) - A stellar defensive night for Jeff Francoeur wasn't enough to bail out Kansas City starter Jeff Francis.
Francis (5-16) allowed five runs in 3 1-3 innings Friday night during a 7-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Ichiro Suzuki had four hits, including a homer, to help the Mariners amass 15 hits.
It could have been worse had Francoeur not made an amazing catch in right field, taking a home run away from Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley in the third inning.
Francoeur jumped, then reached over the wall to catch the deep fly ball. Replays showed the ball ticked off the glove of a fan before landing in Francoeur's, which should have made it a home run. Umpires ruled it was an out.
Francoeur also caught a hard line drive by Ackley an inning later.
``That was pretty tough, too,' Francoeur said. ``I'm pretty sure he hates me right now.'
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon hit the first pitch of the game into the right field stands for his 21st homer. Melky Cabrera followed with a triple and Seattle starter Blake Beavan was in trouble. Billy Butler's groundout to second pushed home Cabrera.
The Mariners quickly responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Brendan Ryan scored on Miguel Olivo's double. He came home when Justin Smoak singled up the middle. Olivo finished a single short of the cycle.
The first-inning production against Francis continued a trend. Opponents are hitting .358 against Francis in the first inning. He has allowed 97 runs this season with 31 coming in the opening frame.
``I was just missing locations over and over again,' Francis said.
Francis' 16 losses are second-most in the Major Leagues.
``He was just up,' Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ``He got burned on breaking pitches up.'
Francoeur is coming off two comparable defensive plays in Oakland, but said Friday night's was special.
``It was one of those you never get tired of because it hits your glove, it's like you're a little kid out there,' Francoeur said. ``It would have been nice to come back and win this one.'
That didn't happen since Beavan (4-5) settled down. He retired 13 consecutive Royals at one point.
Gordon's seventh-inning single drove home Kansas City's third and final run.
Notes: Left-hander Everett Teaford will start for the Royals on Sunday. Michael Pineda starts for Seattle on Saturday, likely making his second-to-last start of the season. The Mariners plan to shut down the rookie who has thrown 159 innings, a personal professional career high. Pineda will be opposed by Felipe Paulino, who is 1-4 in his last nine decisions. He allowed six earned runs in his last outing, a loss to Oakland on Sept. 5.
The Associated Press News Service
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