Bucky plucky vs. Royals in first of two

SEATTLE (AP) -- Bob Melvin knew he'd use a lot of pitchers in the
first doubleheader in Safeco Field's 5-year history. He just
didn't expect to have to go to the bullpen so early.

Starter Clint Nageotte left after three innings with spasms in
the lower right side of his back, but Matt Thornton came in and
struck out five in three innings of hitless baseball for his first
major league win -- a 9-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the
first game of a doubleheader Saturday.

"He got us three innings that we needed," Melvin said. "It
would have been nice to go a little further, but he hadn't been
stretched out in quite some time."

Thornton (1-2) is looking to impress the team enough to earn a
spot for next season.

"We're all young, we all want to be out there," Thornton said.
"We're all trying to prove ourselves. You take the ball whenever
you can get it, and in a game like this, you know you're going to
get some innings in."

J.J. Putz worked the ninth for his fifth save in nine chances,
allowing a solo homer to Desi Relaford.

"It's a great feeling to get that last out and get that ball,"
Thornton said. "J.J. brought it in -- he finished the game off,
closed it out, and he's one of my best friends. He gave me my ball
for my first win. It's a lot of fun for me."

Nageotte gave up four runs and five hits. After the game, he was
placed on the 15-day disabled list and the Mariners recalled
pitcher Cha Seung Baek from Triple-A Tacoma.

Seattle chased Royals starter Darrell May (9-15) with a
three-run fifth capped by Bucky Jacobsen's two-run double off the
right-field wall. Jacobsen also hit a solo homer in the fourth.

Joe Randa's two-run homer off Nageotte put the Royals ahead in
the first, and Angel Berroa hit a two-run single in the second, the
first RBI for the AL Rookie of the Year since he was recalled from
Double-A Wichita last Monday.

But Seattle scored twice in the third on Jose Lopez's
run-scoring double and Ichiro Suzuki's RBI grounder, then got
Jacobsen's solo homer in the fourth.

Edgar Martinez tied it with a run-scoring infield single in the
fifth ahead of Jacobsen's double. Randy Winn hit an RBI grounder in
the sixth to make it 7-4, but Matt Stairs cut the gap with a
two-run double in the seventh against George Sherrill.

Berroa's error on Hiram Bocachica's grounder in the seventh
allowed Bret Boone to score. Winn added an RBI double in the eighth
off Shawn Camp.

May allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. He has lost
three straight starts, giving up 20 earned runs in 9 1-3 innings, a
19.29 ERA.

"I'm pitching more tentatively than usual -- I'm struggling,"
May said. "I feel like I know what I'm doing out there, but the
results are definitely not showing it."

Added Royals skipper Tony Pena: "He tried to place the ball,
not throw it. Today he tried to be too fine."

Game notes
The last doubleheader at Seattle took place Aug. 30, 1986,
a split against the New York Yankees at the Kingdome. ... Jacobsen
has nine homers, the most by a Mariners rookie since Jose Cruz Jr.
had 12 in 1997.