Mariners' Franklin keeps Royals at bay

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals disappointed a
lot of people.

The crowd of 41,788 was the largest ever to see a Royals' home
opener, and the third-biggest regular-season gathering in Kauffman
Stadium history.

So what reward did fans reap for this rousing show of support on
the heels of a 104-loss season?

The Royals' most lopsided loss in any home opener.

Emergency starter Ryan Franklin took a three-hit shutout into
the ninth inning, then the Seattle Mariners finally settled for a
dominating 8-2 victory on Monday.

The Royals hadn't been shut out in their home opener since 1971
and had never lost their first home game by more than five runs.

"It was [Franklin's] day," Kansas City second baseman Ruben
Gotay said. "Everything was working for him."

Thrust into the rotation by an injury that put Bobby Madritsch
on the 15-day disabled list, Franklin (1-0) kept the Royals
flailing for 8 2/3 innings. He retired 15 consecutive batters
before Gotay walked with one out in the ninth.

The Mariners batted around in a seven-run eighth as Ichiro
Suzuki, Adrian Beltre and Miguel Olivo each had two RBI.

Ryan, a 32-year-old right-hander who was 1-10 on the road last
year in a 4-16 season, threw 16 straight strikes to begin the game.

"They didn't swing at too many bad balls," said Franklin, who
made no secret of his disappointment at being moved to the bullpen
at the end of spring training.

"I made pretty decent pitches. I didn't leave too much over the
middle of the plate. It was just one of those days. A lot of those
balls could have fell in. A lot of those ground balls could have
found the hole. But I had luck on my side today."

Franklin walked two and struck out one and was charged with two
runs. Mike Sweeney followed Gotay's ninth-inning walk with a
single, and then with two outs, Emil Brown hit an RBI single to
break up the shutout and bring in J.J. Putz from the bullpen.
Terrence Long singled off Putz.

"He didn't throw any balls. Everything was strike, strike,
strike," Gotay said.

Franklin, who threw an efficient 83 pitches, figures to get at
least two more starts before Madritsch comes back from the DL.

"I feel like I should be a starter," he said. "Until they
take me out, I'll just go out there every fifth day and pitch."

Manager Mike Hargrove admitted he may have to reconsider his
decision to put Franklin in the bullpen.

"That was as good a pitching performance as you'll see,"
Hargrove said. "I think he'll get a couple of more starts at the
very least. If he keeps pitching like this, then we'll have to look
at the possibility of him getting a whole lot more starts."

Franklin, who last year became the first Mariner since 1992 to
lose 15 games, gave up a double to Sweeney in the first inning, a
single to Angel Berroa in the second and a single to Gotay in the
third then shut down the Royals until the ninth.

Runelvys Hernandez (1-1), who missed the entire 2004 season
after undergoing elbow surgery, went 7 1-3 innings and allowed six
hits until Jeremy Reed's one-out double in the eighth. Beltre then
hit his first home run for a 3-1 lead.

"That one pitch got me out of the game," Hernandez said. "I
expected a better outing of myself."

Hernandez gave up eight hits and four runs, with three walks and
four strikeouts.

With the bases loaded in the eighth, reliever Nate Field gave up
a two-run single to Olivo and a one-run single to Wilson Valdez
that made it 6-0.

Suzuki, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 19 games
dating to last season, then dropped a two-run double into left.

Bret Boone had an RBI single off Hernandez in the fourth.

Royals third baseman Mark Teahen left the game in the second
inning with tightness in the lower back. A spokesman said he would
be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Game notes
The Royals had not been shut out in their home opener since
a 2-0 loss to Minnesota in 1971. ... Gus Zernial, the left fielder
for the 1955 Kansas City Athletics, did not arrive in time to throw
out the ceremonial first pitch. He could not get out of Denver
because of the snow storm. Former Royals RHP Kevin Appier took his
place. ... The Mariners have allowed a first-inning run only once
in seven games. ... By general manager Allard Baird's count, 10
Royals were in their first major league home opener. ... Everyone
in the Mariners' lineup had at least one hit.