Six-run fourth inning boosts Royals to 9-2 victory over Mariners

SURPRISE, Ariz. | Billy Butler and Mitch Maier hit home runs Wednesday afternoon in a six-run fourth inning that carried the Royals to a 9-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Surprise Stadium.

The six-run burst erased a 2-0 deficit after Gil Meche surrendered single runs in the second and third innings.

The Mariners scratched starting pitcher from Erik Bedard because of a sore left hip. Chris Jakubaukas started instead and responded by working three hitless innings. Jakubaukas struck out two and walked one.

Everything changed when lefty Justin Thomas started the fourth. Successive singles by Willie Bloomquist, David DeJesus and Mike Jacobs produced one run before Butler unloaded a three-run homer.

Alex Gordon singled and scored when Mitch Maier circled the bases for an inside-the-park homer. The ball hit the right-field wall and caromed away from Mike Morse.

The Royals iced the game with a three-run eighth on RBIs by Derrick Robinson, Mario Lisson and Tommy Murphy. Lefty Heath Phillips, who pitched two scoreless innings, was the winner.

The victory enabled the Royals, 7-4-2, to jump past Seattle, 6-4-1, for second place in the Cactus League. The Angels, 10-2, are in first place.