Brady Singer pitched effectively around traffic most of the night, helping the host Kansas City Royals defeat the Seattle Mariners 5-1 on Friday night in the first game of a three-game series.
Singer (10-4) threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Seattle (82-68) saw its lead for the final American League wild-card spot slip to three games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles (79-71). The Mariners have not been to the postseason since 2001, the longest postseason drought in the four major North American major sports leagues.
The Mariners, who were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, fell for the sixth time in eight games.
The Royals (62-89) moved closer to avoiding their third 100-loss season in the past four full seasons by registering their season-best, fourth straight win.
Singer (10-4) didn't have a clean inning until the sixth. He allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in four of the first five innings.
The 26-year-old right-hander has pitched at least six innings in 13 of his past 14 starts. He has allowed one run total in his past 20 innings.
Marco Gonzales (10-15) took the loss. He allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings, striking out two without issuing a walk.
The Mariners got on the board in the second inning when Cal Raleigh yanked a Singer sinker into the bullpen in right field. It was Raleigh's 24th home run of the season.
The Royals hustled their way to two runs in the third. Hunter Dozier led off with a double to left field. He went to third on a groundout and scored on a bloop hit by Nate Eaton. When center fielder Jarred Kelenic bobbled the ball, Eaton advanced to second. MJ Melendez then singled between third and short, scoring Eaton.
The Royals added a pair of runs in the fifth. Melendez singled, and Bobby Witt Jr. hit an RBI double. Witt scored on a sacrifice fly by Vinnie Pasquantino.
Pasquantino's single drove in Salvador Perez with the Royals' fifth run in the seventh.
--Field Level Media