Baseball / MLB

Mariners' Yusei Kikuchi still winless after four MLB starts

Kyodo, AP

Seattle Mariners rookie Yusei Kikuchi remained winless after four starts on Wednesday, a bad day for all three Japanese starting pitchers in the major leagues.

Kikuchi took a no-decision in the Mariners’ 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals, while Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish and Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda were each tagged with a loss in their respective games.

In a seesaw contest at Kauffman Stadium, the Mariners got on the board first in the top of the first inning, but Kikuchi, who is 0-0 in 21⅔ innings in his young MLB career, allowed a game-tying single to Jorge Soler in the bottom half.

In a finely balanced third inning, Kikuchi surrendered a solo homer to Soler that tied it at 3-3, but the offense came right back the next inning and picked him up, putting the Mariners ahead 5-3.

The visitors held on to a two-run lead through the top of the seventh, but in the bottom of the frame, Terrance Gore hit an RBI triple and Whit Merrifield laid down a bunt that tied the game up at 5-5.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Mitch Haniger homered off Brad Boxberger (0-2) to lift the Mariners to a 12-2 start to the season and hand the Royals their ninth straight loss.

Kikuchi yielded five hits, including solo homers to Hunter Dozier and Soler, and was charged with three runs in six innings of work. He struck out three and walked one. Anthony Swarzak (1-0) got two outs in the eighth for the win.

“We built our game plan around fastballs, but they saw it coming. It was good that I survived rough situations and came away unscathed in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings,” Kikuchi said.

Pirates 5, Cubs 2

In Chicago, Darvish (0-2) allowed two homers and was left still searching for a win after three starts this season as the Cubs suffered a defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh.

Darvish gave up five runs — four of them earned —and five hits in 5⅓ innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four of the 21 batters he faced. He takes a 7.50 ERA into his next start, most likely on Monday.

“I was able to throw a lot of strikes and issued no walks, which I’m happy about. I cleared one of my goals which was really hard to do,” Darvish said.

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 2

In St. Louis, Maeda (2-1) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5⅓ innings for Los Angeles, which fell to the Redbirds for the third straight game.

Maeda surrendered a two-run homer to Yadier Molina, who connected for his first home run of the season to chase the right-hander from the game in the sixth.

“Had I been able to get through the sixth inning cleanly, it might have turned out differently,” Maeda said. “I threw a bad pitch (to Molina). I have to make adjustments before my next outing.”

Astros 8, Yankees 6

In Houston, Jose Altuve smacked two homers, Carlos Correa homered with three RBIs and the Astros completed their first sweep of New York.

Houston needed late-game comebacks to win the first two games of the series but used a four-run fifth inning to break the finale open and held on for its sixth straight win despite a big eighth inning by the Yankees.

It’s the first time since 2004 the Astros have swept a homestand of at least two series. They beat the Athletics three times this weekend before the Yankees arrived.

Padres 3, Giants 1

In San Francisco, Manny Machado put San Diego ahead with his third home run of the season in a win over the Giants.

Signed to a $300 million, 10-year contract, Machado broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with an opposite-field drive to right on a fastball from Dereck Rodriguez (1-2). Machado went 1-for-4 and is hitting .244 with six RBIs.

Wil Myers added a run-scoring single in the ninth off Will Smith, and the Padres won for the fifth time in seven games.

Nick Margevicius (1-1) got his first major league win. Making his third start, the 23-year-old left-hander allowed one run and five hits in six innings with no walks and six strikeouts, including his last four hitters.

Angels 4, Brewers 2

In Anaheim, Justin Bour hit a two-run single in a four-run third inning and Los Angeles beat Milwaukee for its sixth straight victory.

The Angels, who played without star outfielder Mike Trout, improved to 7-6 after losing five of their first six games. Trout strained his right groin during Tuesday’s win but said he hopes to be available for this weekend’s series in Chicago against the Cubs.

Rangers 5, Diamondbacks 2

In Phoenix, Lance Lynn struck out nine over six solid innings, Hunter Pence homered into the Chase Field swimming pool and Texas rallied to beat Arizona after being held without a hit for five innings.

Lynn (1-1) pitched four-hit ball to help the Rangers end a four-game skid. They overcame an excellent start from Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray, who struck out 10 and allowed two hits and a run over five innings.

Rays 9, White Sox 1

In Chicago, Tommy Pham homered twice and extended his on-base streak to a club record 45 games, leading Tampa Bay to its first series sweep in Chicago.

Austin Meadows had a single, double, home run and three RBIs for the Rays, who outscored Chicago 24-7 over three games. The Rays won their four straight game and improved to 10-3, their best start since 2010.

Nationals 15, Phillies 1

In Philadelphia, Jeremy Hellickson pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Matt Adams drove in four runs and Washington routed the hosts.

One night after wasting a five-run lead in a 10-6 loss in 10 innings, the Phillies were flat. Bryce Harper was 0-for-2 with a walk against his former team, and an offense that was averaging 6.3 runs per game got shut down by four pitchers.

Athletics 10, Orioles 3

In Baltimore, Oakland slugger Khris Davis homered twice and had three hits, Baltimore’s Chris Davis extended his record hitless streak to 50 at-bats and the Athletics beat the Orioles.

Chad Pinder, Matt Chapman and Jurickson Profar also homered for Oakland, which can take the four-game series Thursday.

Chris Davis entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and flied out to center. He’s 0-for-29 this season and hasn’t gotten a hit since Sept. 14.

Mets 9, Twins 6

In New York, Jake Odorizzi and Minnesota’s bullpen suddenly went wild, allowing seven straight batters to reach base despite not hitting a single fair ball and letting Noah Syndergaard and the Mets stroll past the Twins.

One day after the teams set a Citi Field record by totaling 10 home runs in the Twins’ 14-8 romp, New York barely had to swing to build a big lead.

A startling stretch that kept snowballing saw Odorizzi, newly promoted reliever Andrew Vasquez and Trevor Hildenberger combine to walk six and hit a batter with a pitch without getting an out. At one point, the Twins threw 21 pitches — 19 missed the strike zone, many of them bouncing or sailing all over.

Tigers 4, Indians 1

In Detroit, Trevor Bauer allowed home runs to Niko Goodrum and John Hicks, who powered the hosts over Cleveland for the Tigers’ sixth win in seven games.

Bauer (1-1) gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5⅔ innings for the Indians. He had allowed one run and one hit in his first two starts.

Reds 2, Marlins 1

In Cincinnati, Jose Iglesias led off the eighth inning with a tying homer — only the Reds’ second hit of the game — and Jesse Winker connected one out later, rallying the hosts to a victory over Miami.

After dropping eight straight, Cincinnati (3-8) has taken the first two games against Miami by hitting seven homers. The Reds hit five during a 14-0 victory Tuesday that ended the long slide.

Braves at Rockies — ppd.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5