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Montgomery impressive, Mariners split series with Royals to end first half

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

7/10 at KC by TOM HAYDEN

KAUFFMAN STADIUM, KANSAS CITY, MO. ----

WHAT A GAME! The Mariners were able to get things done in the series finale of a 4-game series with the now 45-43 Kansas City Royals, in what was also the final game of the first half of the season. The final score of this one, 8-5 Mariners. After putting up only 3 runs a game in their previous 3 games, the Mariners put up an impressive 8 runs on Sunday afternoon. Offense combined for a handful of hits and a pair of homers. The main story of the ball game however was LHP Mike Montgomery's performance, in his first start of 2016. Montgomery started in 16 games last season for the M's with a record of 4-6 and ERA of 4.60. Over the offseason, the Mariners decided to place Montgomery in the bull pen for the 2016 season. After RHP Taijuan Walker was placed on the 15-day DL last week, manager Scott Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto looked to the bull pen for starting experience, and decided to go with Montgomery to fill the spot. Monty showed off his starter skills on Sunday, for sure, against his former ball club, the Kansas City Royals. With the win, the Mariners now head into the All-Star break at a game above .500 with a W-L record of 45-44. This is the fourteenth time that the Mariners have entered the All-Star break with a record above .500 in their 40-year history. In the American League West standings, Seattle is now only 8.5 games behind the 54-36 Texas Rangers, and 3.0 games behind the 48-41 Houston Astros. 

Offensively on Sunday afternoon, the mariners combined to put up 8 runs on an impressive 14 hits. 3B Kyle Seager (.287 AVG) extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games, and enters the All-Star break on fire. Kyle went 2-5 at the plate on Sunday and drove in a pair of runs with a single to right field in the top of the first inning. Seager now leads the club in RBI with 61. DH Robinson Canó (.313 AVG) went 2-5 on the day, also with a pair of RBI. Canó practiced early for the HR Derby on Monday night in this one as he launched his 21st homer of the season, a 2-run HR in the seventh inning over the right field wall. Robbie is the only 2B in the league with 21 or more homers. 21 homers also ties his career high for most home runs prior to All-Star break. All of last season.. Canó had a combined total of 21 homers. After a 2 RBI day, Robinson enters the All-Star break with 58 RBI on the season. SS Ketel Marte (.272 AVG) went 2-4 at the plate on Sunday and drove in an RBI for his 19th of the season. LF Seth Smith (.277 AVG) and CF Leonys Martin (.243 AVG) each had 2-hit days at the plate in 5 at bats each for the Mariners. It was 1B Adam Lind (.232 AVG) who sealed the deal in the seventh inning as he connected for his 13th homer of the season, a 3-run HR to give Seattle a commanding 8-0 lead. 

With offense there to back him upon Sunday afternoon, LHP Mike Montgomery shined in his first start of the 2016 season for the M's. Montgomery went 6.1 innings giving up only 1 run on 5 hits (earned) while striking out 3. Monty earned himself the win and now now has a W-L record even at .500 on the season at 3-3. His ERA is a solid 2.06. Relieving Montgomery in this one were RHP Edwin Diaz (2.55 ERA), LHP David Rollins (6.23 ERA), RHP Joaquin Benoit (4.57 ERA), and RHP closer Steve Cishek (3.15 ERA). David Rollins had a rough outing going 0.1 innings giving up 3 runs on 2 hits (all earned) while walking 2 and striking out 0. Cishek was able to end the ball game though in the bottom of the ninth inning despite giving up a solo homer to KC LF Alex Gordon. 

WHAT'S NEXT? :

The Mariners will get back to games on Friday, July 15th to open up the second half of the series with the start of a 3-game series against our AL West rival, the Houston Astros at home in Seattle. LHP James Paxton (2-3, 3.91 ERA) will make his ninth start of the 2016 season facing HOU RHP Doug Fister (8-6, 3.55 ERA). First pitch start time for this one is scheduled for 7:10 PM PAC, 10:10 PM ET on Friday night. Be sure to catch all of the action of the first game back since the All-Star break on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio! 

Mariners 365 Notes:

The 2016 Home Run Derby is Monday night at 5:30 PM PAC, 8:30 PM ET only on ESPN! 2B Robinson Canó is the fourth seed in the bracket-styled event. Canó will face MIA Giancarlo Stanton in the first round. Canó seeks his second HR Derby title (won in 2011 with the New York Yankees). Follow @Mariners365 on twitter for updates on Canó's performance. LET's GO CANÓ! #TheCanoShow

Watch the 2016 MLB All-Star Game in San Diego on Tuesday night, 5:00 PM PAC, 8:00 PM ET start time only on FOX! Robinson Canó isn't starting, but will for sure make an appearance in the game for he is the second string second baseman!

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue. 

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