SEATTLE -- Clueless in Seattle.
That's the Royals who, unable to solve the mystery of Mariners pitching, went down a second straight defeat at Safeco Field, 6-1, on Friday night. Their bats were cooler than the 66-degree weather.
The loss dropped the Royals into a tie for last place in the American League Central with the Twins. It was the first time the Royals had been at the bottom of the standings since April 29, when they also shared the spot with the Twins. At that time, both teams were 6-15; now they're each 41-58.
"That's not where you want to be," said the Royals' Billy Butler.
In the two losses at Safeco, the Royals have a grand total of six hits and two runs. And now they're 1-5 against the Mariners this season with two games remaining.
The Mariners, who rank last in AL hitting, have worn out the Royals this year with a .327 average, 41 runs and 10 homers in the six games.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, in his second start for the Royals since being obtained from the Rockies in a swap for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, had a difficult first inning.
John Jaso belted a three-run homer into the right-field seats after Michael Saunders and Jesus Montero each singled. Saunders was called safe when first baseman Eric Hosmer, after fielding his ground ball, didn't flip to Guthrie covering and was late getting to the bag.
"The big home run, obviously, was the big blow. Obviously, that was kind of the damage," Guthrie said. "I was trying to go in and it was up middle, and he got on top of it and hit it out."
Jaso would have been happy with a sacrifice fly.
"With a runner on third base and less than two outs, I was looking for a ball up and something I could lift into the outfield," Jaso said. "And that's just what I got. Luckily I put enough barrel on it to get it out."
The Mariners added two runs in the second inning. Brendan Ryan singled and scored on Dustin Ackley's double and, after two outs, Jaso lofted a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI. A sixth run came in the sixth on Mike Carp's leadoff home run to right field.
"Jeremy came out and he wasn't really very good in the first two innings, and he kind of settled down and got us through six. We knew coming in that it would probably take a couple of starts to get him back on track," manager Ned Yost said. "He started out shaky, but he righted himself a little bit. I had [Everett] Teaford up in the second inning, you know, and he did a great job of getting us into the sixth with just one more run, so we'll build on that, we hope."
Guthrie was pulled in the sixth inning after giving up six runs and 11 hits. In his Kansas City debut last Sunday against the Twins, he went five innings and yielded five runs in a 7-5 loss.
"They haven't been good," Guthrie said. "Today was better in the strike zone. No walks, but a couple of unexecuted pitches was the difference and it seems to have been the difference most of the year -- the mistakes I've paid the price for."
Counting his time with the Rockies, Guthrie is 0-8 with a 7.76 ERA in his last 13 games.
Meantime, the Royals -- held to two hits in Thursday night's 4-1 loss -- were having problems with right-hander Blake Beavan. Their only run came in the second inning when Beavan gave up a single to Butler, threw two wild pitches to move him to third base and Salvador Perez lofted a sacrifice fly.
"To be honest, we're not swinging the bats real well right now," Yost said. "We're just not. But [Beavan] again threw strikes, didn't get himself in trouble walking guys, was ahead in the count for the most part."
Three Seattle relievers combined to retire all seven Royals they faced.
Butler has four of the Royals' six hits in the first two games of the series.
"It doesn't do much good when there's nobody on when you're getting hits," Butler said. "But it was just a struggle for us all night. Beavan threw a good game, he was locating, throwing a lot of strikes, getting a lot of balls on the ground and getting it whenever he needed it."
Including the last game at Anaheim, the Royals have fallen behind early in the game and lost all three times.
"It's hard to play that way," Yost said. "You can't expect to be successful every night when you're down four, five, six runs in the first couple innings."
Butler says the Royals remain determined to rise out of their current morass of losses.
"We're battling, we're giving everything we've got out there. It's just tough to play from behind," he said. "We're going to keep grinding it out and, one of these days, get out ahead and see what happens."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.