- Associated Press - Saturday, May 10, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - Jason Vargas, once a solid starter in the Seattle Mariners‘ rotation, did not give his former team much to hit in helping the Kansas City Royals to a 6-1 victory Friday night.

Vargas (3-1), who pitched for the Mariners for four seasons (2009-12), allowed only three hits in seven innings. He struck out six without a walk.

He is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four career starts against his former team. His 2.30 ERA at Safeco Field is tied for the seventh-best for a starter in park history.

The Royals had 16 hits - all singles. Salvador Perez, Eric Gordon and Eric Hosmer had three hits each for the Royals while Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain had two each.

Brandon Maurer (1-1) took the loss, allowing 14 hits, six runs - four earned - and did not walk or strike out a batter. The 14 hits Maurer allowed were just one short of the team record set by Greg Hibbard on May 24, 1994.

“This was a weird, weird game,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Maurer threw the ball extremely well, gave up two hard hits. They were persistent, put the bat on the ball and found some holes.

“It was one of those nights. I didn’t look up to see if it was a full moon or not. It was weird.”

Maurer said the reason he didn’t walk or strike out anyone was because “I was trying to throw to contact today. I kept the pitch count down (97). Not too many hard-hit balls but they just happened to find holes.

“It’s part of the game. We’d love it if it was on our side.”

That hasn’t been the case recently for Seattle. The Mariners, who scored 35 runs during a five-game win streak in their previous road trip, have just two runs and 10 hits over their last three games.

“We know from time to time we’re going to be challenged,” McClendon said. “We know that going in. Our guys will continue to work hard. We’ll get better.”

Returning to his once familiar home, it was the first road victory for Vargas, who signed a four-year, free-agent deal with the Royals in November.

“When he’s on his game, like he was tonight, he really works the accelerator really well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He pushes down with the fastball, backs off with the changeup. Good curveball.

“What pitchers like Vargie do so well is they disrupt the opposition hitters’ timing. He did that extremely well tonight.”

The first hit Vargas allowed came in the third, a one-out single by Mike Zunino. Shortstop Alcides Escobar knocked the hard grounder down but it rolled a few feet away. The other hits were Dustin Ackley’s line single to center in the fifth and Robinson Cano’s ground single to right in the seventh.

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