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May 14, 2024 7:28 am

Luke Raley, Mariners look to overpower Royals

Luke Raley

It seems Luke Raley doesn’t know his own strength.

After hitting a 432-foot homer to straightaway center field Monday, Raley was handed the Seattle Mariners’ celebratory gold trident before stepping into the dugout. As he was being congratulated by teammates, Raley’s face sank as the trident split in half while in his hands.

“I hope I’m not responsible for fixing it, but I guess I did break it,” Raley said sheepishly on the ROOT Sports postgame show. “I was carrying it through the dugout and it fell apart.”

The Mariners likely will get that fixed before their series with the visiting Kansas City Royals continues Tuesday night.

George Kirby pitched seven scoreless innings, backed by two-run homers from Raley and Ty France, in Monday’s 6-2 victory. Andres Munoz got the final four outs for the save.

“Really a complete ballgame,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I don’t want to ever take starting pitching for granted, but I thought our offense was on it right from the get-go tonight. And it was great to see.”

Raley, acquired in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay for utility infielder Jose Caballero, got off to a slow start with just three hits in his first 23 at-bats.

With Dominic Canzone on the injured list with a sprained shoulder, Raley has made the most of his expanded playing time.

He had three hits Monday for the first time in the majors and tied a career-high with three RBIs.

In nine games this month, Raley is batting .375 with two homers and six RBIs, raising his season average to .266.

“He’s got huge power,” Servais said. “I (sat) down with him the other day, and you’re always trying to figure out how to reach players. And some guys need a pat on the back and other guys need a kick in the tail once in a while. There’s no reason to kick any of these guys in the tail with how much they care. They put the work in, and Luke Raley is right at the top of the list for me.”

Raley’s contributions have helped the Mariners move into first place in the American League West. The other position players the Mariners obtained this winter — Mitch Garver, Mitch Haniger, Jorge Polanco, Luis Urias and Seby Zavala — are batting at .200 or less.

Of course, it wasn’t long ago that Raley also was below the Mendoza Line.

“I wasn’t swinging the bat well, and you kind of have to earn your at-bats. That’s just how it goes,” he said. “So I took it upon myself to be out there for early batting practice all the time so I could see a little bit more velo and just try to get more comfortable. And it seems to be paying off.”

Royals starter Brady Singer gave up a season-high nine hits and allowed more than two runs for just the second time in nine starts.

“His stuff was good. Missed his spots a couple of times there, at least the ones I saw on the board there. Middle mistakes with pretty good hitters,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said.

Right-hander Michael Wacha (2-4, 5.15 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for Kansas City on Tuesday against Seattle righty Logan Gilbert (3-1, 2.94). Wacha is 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in seven career starts against the M’s; Gilbert is 2-0 with a 5.27 ERA in five previous starts versus the Royals.

–Field Level Media

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