Sexson, Beltre spark Mariners' 12-1 rout of Royals

SEATTLE (AP) -- If Richie Sexson keeps this up, he'll accomplish the goal of hitting his way back into Seattle's cleanup spot.

Dropped to the No. 5 spot recently, Sexson hit a pair of two-run homers on Saturday night, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 12-1 rout of Kansas City. It was Sexson's 22nd multi-homer game of his

"I want to hit fourth. That's what I've done my whole career," said Sexson, who finished with five RBI. "Hopefully I can hit my way back in there. That's where I like to hit. I think right now what's best for the team is I hit fifth."

Adrian Beltre, who was moved from the No. 5 spot to No. 2, added his first homer of the season at Safeco Field.

The two sluggers, who signed with Seattle for a combined $114 million before the 2005 season, homered in the same game for the first time this year. Both have struggled in their second season with the Mariners -- Beltre entered Saturday hitting .230, Sexson .206 -- and the pair had a combined eight homers and 45 RBI.

Sexson hit a two-run homer into the Seattle bullpen in left-center field to cap a three-run first inning for the Mariners. Beltre served as the catalyst for a four-run third inning, hitting
a 1-2 curveball from Seth Etherton (1-1) out to center for a 4-0 Seattle lead.

Sexson added a sacrifice fly in the inning, and Kenji Johjima capped the rally with a two-run double just inside the left-field line that knocked Etherton from the game.

Making his second start, Etherton allowed seven runs on just four hits and walked four.

"What I was throwing up there, I think a lot of people would hit," Etherton said. "They were meatballs. I threw up some, just meatballs tonight and they crushed them.

"I didn't see one bright spot in that performance. I don't think I did one thing good," he said.

Seattle scored four more times in the fourth, capped by Sexson's two-out homer to right off reliever Andrew Sisco. It was the first multihomer game by a Mariner since Sexson hit a pair on Aug. 20, 2005, against Minnesota.

"That's a positive. That's where I live, over there on the middle to right side," Sexson said. "It's a positive to hit a ball like that over to the right side."

Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-4 and finished a home run short of the cycle. Seattle has won seven of nine at home, and improved to 16-15 at home -- the only American League West team with a winning record at home.

That was plenty of offense for Seattle starter Joel Pineiro, who
pitched seven innings and broke a three-game losing streak. Pineiro (5-5) had not won since beating Cleveland 4-1 on May 6. He allowed seven hits and struck out four.

"It's very nice when you get some run support like that. You can maybe take a step back, but not try and get away from your game," Pineiro said.

The Royals had opportunities against Pineiro. At one point in the third and fourth innings, six straight Royals reached base, but only one run scored.

The critical play in that stretch was Seattle left-fielder Raul Ibanez throwing out Paul Bako at the plate to end the third. Ibanez cleanly fielded Mark Grudzielanek's single, and his throw was just to the first-base side of home plate. Johjima dove to place the tag on Bako and home plate umpire Jim Reynolds called Bako out,
although television replays clearly showed Bako's left hand touching the plate before Johjima's tag. Bako and manager Buddy Bell both argued with Reynolds.

The Royals, who were shut out in their previous two games, snapped their scoreless innings streak at 21 when Matt Stairs singled, scoring Doug Mientkiewicz in the fourth.

"We gave up too many and got out of the game really quick," Bell said.

Game notes
Suzuki had his 27th multi-hit game, the most in the majors. He's had at least two hits in six of the last seven games and is 16-for-29 during that stretch (.552). ... Left-hander Mark Redman will
start Sunday for Kansas City. He hasn't pitched since May 19 against St. Louis and was on the bereavement list from May 24-31. ... Royals third baseman Mark Teahen was recalled from Triple-A Omaha before Saturday's game and went 0-for-4. He was hitting .380 in 24 games in Omaha.