09/17/08 1:02 AM ET
Royals run winning streak to five games
Club smacks three homers en route to victory over Seattle
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
They won their fifth consecutive game, defeating the Seattle Mariners, 6-3, while 19,135 fans spent a delightful, 75-degree Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. It's the Royals' longest winning streak since a season-high six was reached on June 27.
Ryan Shealy and David DeJesus each socked a home run as the Royals sacked Mariners starter Brandon Morrow during a four-run fourth inning. Earlier, John Buck also homered and knocked in two runs.
Right-hander Brandon Duckworth held the Mariners to two runs on five hits in six innings and improved his mark to 3-1. Joakim Soria did his rescue bit in the ninth inning and pocketed his 39th save.
"There's a lot to like tonight," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.
There sure was. In fact, there's a lot to like in September. His club is 10-5 this month, eclipsing the nine wins the Royals had last September.
Shealy's two-run shot was his fifth homer since being called up on Sept. 1. That gave him 11 RBIs in nine games and captured the manager's attention as Shealy bids for first-base consideration in 2009.
"He's done a great, great job of seizing the opportunity that he's been given," Hillman said. "I don't think there's anybody in the clubhouse, and certainly not anybody with the Royals, who's not pulling for him. He's got such high character and worked so hard and had some bumps. To do what he's done since callup, hitting five out of the ballpark, is pretty impressive."
Shealy is also batting .371 (13-for-35).
"It feels real good. I'm getting some good pitches to hit and hitting them," Shealy said. "That guy had a good arm tonight and he made me look kind of silly in my first two at-bats, but I was able to get him."
Shealy had struck out twice against Morrow before connecting.
DeJesus led off the inning with his 11th homer, but his first since July 12 or 178 at-bats ago. Oddly enough, that homer also came against Morrow, who was clocking his fastball between 96-98 mph.
"All you've got to do it put your bat on it and that thing's going to take off," DeJesus said.
Along with the DeJesus and Shealy homers, Alberto Callaspo tripled and scored on Mike Aviles' single, and Mark Teahen doubled, so the team hit for the cycle in that inning. Also, Callaspo has a 10-game hitting streak, going 14-for-40 at a .350 clip.
Buck opened the scoring with a homer of his own, a solo blast that began the third inning and sailed over the Mariners' left-field bullpen. Buck knocked in another run with a single in the fourth.
"These guys have been swinging real hot bats, especially lately, and any pitcher will take six runs a game and take your chances," Duckworth said.
Meantime, Duckworth was sailing. He gave up a homer to Jose Lopez, the first he's given up in his five starts since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha. It was Lopez's 15th. But other than that, everything was just "Ducky".
"He's so stable and so consistent. Not too flashy, he doesn't overpower anybody. When he locates, that's when he's on," catcher Buck said.
Relievers Leo Nunez and John Bale each contributed a perfect inning and, with a 6-2 lead, Hillman turned over the ninth inning to Ramon Ramirez. Things got a mite interesting, though. Lopez doubled and Jeremy Reed singled him home and it was a three-run game.
Soria then came charging out of the bullpen. That's been a comforting sight for the Royals this season. Before Soria took firm hold of the closer's job, a late lead for the Royals never seemed safe.
"Where before that was our spot where we'd say, 'Well, I hope we can hold onto this,' " Buck said. "Where now it's 'Let's get it to Soria and we've got this wrapped up.' And that's confidence you should have in a closer and that's one of those steps forward that we've made and we've got to keep finding little steps like that."
Soria got three straight outs to end it. And when he struck out Wladimir Balentien, the Royals' staff had recorded 1,010 strikeouts -- a new franchise record for a season. The old mark was 1,006 in 1990.
"It was a good night," Hillman said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.