KANSAS CITY — Long after his baseball career is done, Jarrod Washburn will look back fondly on Kauffman Stadium.
Washburn, a 32-year-old left-hander, hiked his record in Kansas City’s fountain-themed park to 5-1 on Sunday, giving up four hits and three runs in seven innings and leading Seattle to a 7-4 victory and three-game sweep of the Royals.
At Kauffman, where he got the win in his major league debut in 1998, Washburn is 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA.
“I do love this park,” he said. “I think it’s a beautiful place for baseball. The fans, there doesn’t ever seem to be too many of them, but the ones that are here are loud and in the game and good fans. It’s always going to be a little special to me because it’s where I started.”
Jose Vidro and Raul Ibanez drove in two runs apiece for the hot-hitting Mariners, who have won five of six after losing five of six and notched their first three-game road sweep in almost a year. In their last 11 games, the Mariners are batting .324.
In their last four, the Mariners are hitting a blistering .369.
“We’re swinging the bats real well right now,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “We’ve seemed to turn that around. And we’re getting good starting pitching, which has really helped our bullpen. And our bullpen’s coming through. It’s the best of both worlds right now. We’ve just got to keep it going.”
A few days ago the Royals thought they had something going. But after winning eight of 10 and igniting hope of a turnaround, they’ve lost four straight by a combined score of 36-10. The Mariners outscored them in the three-game sweep 26-7.
“The last four games, it sounds like we’re talking about the same game,” said manager Buddy Bell. “Not enough pitching. Not enough offense. That’s a bad combination when you’re playing against Seattle.”
Washburn took a one-hit shutout and 6-0 lead into the sixth, but following a 22-minute rain delay gave up two runs, one on a wild pitch. He struck out four and walked one.
He was relieved by Sean Green after Alex Gordon doubled leading off the eighth. Ryan Shealy’s RBI single made it 6-3.
J.J. Putz came on with two on and no out in the ninth and got three outs for his 12th save in as many chances.
Ichiro Suzuki had two singles to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest current streak in the majors. He had an RBI single in the sixth off Royals starter Odalis Perez (2-5).
Vidro’s single drove in two runs in the third after the Mariners loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Ibanez’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
Adrian Beltre hit a solo home run in the fourth and Suzuki and Jamie Burke had RBI singles in the sixth.
In the Kansas City sixth, Shealy singled, went to third on Tony Pena Jr.’s double and scored on a wild pitch. Pena scored on David DeJesus’ infield out.
Perez gave up nine hits and six runs in 52/3 innings, with three walks and two strikeouts. The left-hander has three losses and three no-decisions in his past six starts.