Series: Game 2 of 3

Kansas City leads 2-0 (as of 8/31)

Game 1: Friday, August 30
Kansas City 5Final
Seattle 1
Game 2: Saturday, August 31
Kansas City 4Final
Seattle 2
Game 3: Sunday, September 1
Kansas City 4Final
Seattle 9

Royals 4

(55-81, 22-46 away)

Mariners 2

(79-57, 39-29 home)

    10:05 PM ET, August 31, 2002

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 000001012 4 - -
    SEA 000001010 2 - -

    W: J. Affeldt (3-4)

    L: A. Rhodes (7-3)

    S: R. Hernandez (25)

    Pellow delivers tiebreaking hit in ninth

    SEATTLE (AP) -- As the Seattle Mariners fall out of playoff contention, manager Lou Piniella's frustration level is rising.

    Kazuhiro Sasaki

    Kit Pellow hit a tiebreaking RBI single off closer Kazuhiro Sasaki with two outs in the ninth inning to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 4-2 victory over sputtering Seattle on Saturday night.

    The third-place Mariners fell six games behind Oakland in the AL West and 2½ in back of Anaheim in the wild-card race.

    "I've talked about it before and I don't really want to talk about it anymore,'' Piniella said. "One of these days we'll hit and that's the end of it.

    "That's all I've got to say about the hitting end of it,'' he said. "And if we don't hit, we'll just keep losing. We're playing hard. We're just not getting the hits when we need them.''

    With two outs in the ninth, Neifi Perez walked off Arthur Rhodes (7-3) and Luis Ordaz singled Perez. Sasaki replaced Rhodes and gave up a single to Pellow, scoring Perez from second. Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI single.

    "We've got to turn this stuff around,'' Rhodes said. "We've just got to keep our heads up and keep battling.''

    At 13-15 in August, the Mariners had their first losing month since August 2000, when they were 11-17.

    "I'm glad August is over with,'' Rhodes said. "Now, we can move on to September and hopefully tomorrow we can come out and play great ball.''

    Pellow, a rookie playing in his eighth game after being called up from Triple-A Omaha Aug. 14, said he tried not to be intimidated by Sasaki's reputation.

    "I wasn't expecting to do much off him,'' he said. "He's one of the best closers in the game. After the first two pitches, I said, 'Oh, this is going to be fun. Let's just try and put it in play.'''

    Pellow's single over shortstop broke his bat.

    "It was very nasty,'' he said. "I just wanted to put it in play.''

    Jeremy Affeldt (3-4) got the victory with two innings of relief. Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 32 opportunities.

    The Mariners tied the score at 2 with two outs in the eighth when Carlos Guillen hit his ninth homer of the season off Affeldt into the Kansas City bullpen in left field.

    The Royals went ahead 2-1 in the top half. Beltran got a one-out walk from Jeff Nelson and was singled to third by Mike Sweeney. Rhodes replaced Nelson and Raul Ibanez got his second RBI of the game when he hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Beltran.

    Seattle's Ryan Franklin and 21-year-old rookie Miguel Asencio were locked in a low-scoring duel.

    "It's tough right now because we're kind of in a little rut,'' Franklin said. "We're kind of struggling right now, but I think everyone kind of goes through it. Everyone on this ballclub are great ballplayers.''

    Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the sixth off Franklin. Beltran had a one-out double and went to third on shortstop Guillen's fielding error on Sweeney's grounder. Ibanez followed with an RBI single.

    Seattle tied the score with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Ichiro Suzuki opened with the first hit off Asencio, a single to right, and Desi Relaford singled Suzuki to second. Bret Boone's fielder's choice moved Suzuki to third and Suzuki scored when third baseman Luis Alicea was charged with an error on Mike Cameron's grounder.

    After Cameron's grounder, John Olerud's single that loaded the bases with one out ended Seattle's 0-for-27 streak with runners in scoring position. But Jose Offerman lined out and Guillen grounded out to end the inning.

    The Mariners had the bases loaded in the seventh off Affeldt, but Cameron struck out for the third out.

    Franklin gave up one runs and five hits in seven innings.

    Asencio allowed one run and three hits in six innings.

    Game notes

    After the game, the Mariners announced they will call up LHP John Halama and INFs Luis Ugueto and Willie Bloomquist from Triple-A Tacoma for Sunday's game. ... The Royals, who lead the AL with 119 stolen bases, were caught stealing twice. They lead the league by being caught stealing 59 times. ... Ibanez collected has a team-leading 95 RBI this season. He had 54 RBI with the Royals last season. The Mariners did not re-sign him after the 2000 season. ... Mariners Gold Glove RF Suzuki threw out Chuck Knoblauch from one knee at second after failing to make a diving catch of Knoblauch's pop fly to open the eighth. Knoblauch limped off the field and was replaced in left in the bottom of the inning with a sprained big toe on his right foot. X-rays were negative and he's day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press