- Associated Press - Saturday, May 10, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - Jason Vargas used his “accelerator” to control the strike zone and it meant his first road victory of the season. It came at a place where he felt like home.

Vargas allowed three hits over seven innings and the Kansas City Royals had 16 hits - all singles - in a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Vargas (3-1), who pitched for the Mariners for four seasons (2009-12), 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

Vargas 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.”

Vargas said controlling the strike zone is always his goal “but the execution is not always the same. … Tonight I was able control counts and able to make pitches down in the strike zone.”

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

The Mariners have scored just two runs and have 10 hits over the past three games.

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.”

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.

“He mixed it up and threw strikes,” Mariners third baseman Will Bloomquist said of Vargas. “I saw a couple changeups and they were kind of Jamie Moyer-like, coming out of the back of his hand and falling off pretty good. He threw the ball well.”

The Royals pieced together rallies off Maurer. Only one run scored on a hit. The rest scored on an error, a sacrifice fly, a double play and two on fielder’s choices.

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