SEATTLE (AP) Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning and the Seattle Mariners beat Kansas City 4-0 on Tuesday night, putting the Royals’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
Mariners rookie left-hander James Paxton (3-0), making just his fourth major league start, worked a career-high seven innings, allowing four hits, walking none and striking out a career-high 10.
The playoff picture looks as bleak as it can be for the Royals (83-74). They are four games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card berth with five games to play.
The Royals’ three competitors for the two wild-card spots Tampa Bay, Texas and Cleveland all won Tuesday. The Royals need to win every game and have both the Indians and Rangers completely collapse.
It was the 13th shutout for the Mariners and the ninth time the Royals have been shut out.
The Royals and Mariners will play the rubber game of their series on Wednesday night at 9:10pm. Pregame begins at 8:30 on KMAN from the Royals Radio Network.