Kelenic 2 HRs off newcomer Heasley, Mariners beat Royals 6-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Seattle rookie Jarred Kelenic spoiled the major league debut of pitcher Jonathan Heasley by hitting a pair of two-run homers that sent the Mariners over the Kansas City Royals 6-2 Friday night.
Kelenic’s first multihomer game of his career kept the Mariners 3 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the second AL wild-card spot. Toronto and Oakland also are in the mix.
“It was nice to get back in the win column after a couple of tough losses at home,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Obviously it was the Jarred Kelenic show early.”
Kelenic had faced Heasley in the minors, going 0 for 2 with two walks.
“Any time you can hit two homers in a game it feels good,” Kelenic said. “People change. I’m sure his stuff got better over the years. I just kind of went up there with my own approach, just like I do with any other pitcher.”
Chris Flexen (12-6) allowed one run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“It was definitely a grind the first couple of innings,” Flexen said. “I just needed to make pitches. We tried to attack with all four pitches.”
Heasley (0-1) gave up four runs, all on Kelenic’s homers, and six hits in four innings.
When Heasley delivered his first pitch, he became the fifth Royals pitcher selected in the 2018 draft to pitch for the big league club. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2021 Royals are the first team in MLB history to have five pitchers from the same draft class start a game in one season.
Royals slugger Salvador Perez went 0 for 4 with a walk. He leads the majors with 112 RBIs and has hit 45 home runs — Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 46th earlier in the day.
Heasley gave up a leadoff single to Ty France in the second and Kelenic homered with one out.
In the fourth, Kelenic hit his 12th home run, a 435-foot drive to center field after Heasley hit France with a pitch.
“I thought his stuff looked great,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said of Heasley’s debut. “I thought he threw much better than what the four runs were. Even looking at those pitches, you’re talking a 3-1 changeup and a 3-2 curveball on the black away. Those are not terrible pitches.
“I thought he executed everything.”
The Royals scored off Flexen in the sixth on Andrew Benintendi’s single. Kansas City eventually loaded the bases, but Michael A. Taylor took a called third strike to end the threat.
Hunter Dozier homered in the Royals seventh.
Mariners: RHP Justin Dunn left his rehab start Thursday night after a few pitches. Servais said his season likely has come to an end. Dunn has been on the injured list since June 2 with right shoulder inflammation.
Royals: Matheny said RHP Brad Keller likely is done for the year. Keller has been in the injured list since Aug. 27 with a right lat strain.
The Royals placed RHP Brady Singer on the injured list with an undisclosed injury. His spot on the 26-man roster was filled by Heasley. … Taylor was reinstated from the family medical emergency list and OF Edward Olivares was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-8, 4.23 ERA) will face LHP Kris Bubic (4-6, 4.99) in the second game of a three-game series.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.