SEATTLE -- On a night when one-run victories were all the rage among American League wild-card contenders, the Kansas City Royals were not among the celebrants - for once.
The Royals' late-game magic ran out in a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, leaving Kansas City's playoff hopes all but dead with five games remaining. The Royals (83-74) trail Cleveland by four games and Texas by three games in the race for the final wild-card berth.
Cleveland (87-70) and Texas, which trails the Indians by a game in the wild-card chase, both won close games Tuesday.
Kansas City never got in position for any late-game heroics Tuesday, thanks in large part to a stellar outing from Seattle rookie starter James Paxton.
Paxton (3-0) threw seven innings of shutout baseball while allowing just four hits. He had a career-high 10 strikeouts and closed out his short audition with the Mariners with a 1.50 ERA over four starts.
Kendrys Morales went 3-for-4 for the Mariners, including an RBI single that gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Justin Smoak added a three-run home run in the fifth inning, and the 4-0 lead was more than enough for Paxton.
Kansas City starter Bruce Chen (8-4) lasted only five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while walking three.
Seattle (69-89) won for just the fourth time in its past 16 games.
Kansas City had just five hits and two errors in the loss, which came after back-to-back one-run victories.
Smoak hit his three-run homer with two outs in the fifth, and it came after Chen had worked his way out of several jams earlier in the game.
Seattle's first two batters of the game singled and the one-out, RBI single from Morales gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead. But Chen retired the next two batters to strand runners at first and third, and the score held up until the Smoak homer.
The switch-hitting Smoak now has 19 home runs this season, but Tuesday's was only his second from the right side of the plate.
Paxton rolled through the first five innings, during which he allowed three hits while striking out eight. After giving up a two-out double to Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain in the top of the second, Paxton retired the next 10 batters he faced.
NOTES: Team president Chuck Armstrong confirmed that general manager Jack Zduriencik will be back next season. "Yes, Jack will be back," Armstrong told The Seattle Times before Tuesday's game. Rumors of Zduriencik signing a one-year contract for 2014 began to surface last month, but until Tuesday no one within the organization had confirmed them. ... Kansas City RHP James Shields (bruised right elbow) threw a successful bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon, then said he would be available for Friday night's scheduled start against the Chicago White Sox. "Pencil me in," Shields told MLB.com....... Mariners LHP Danny Hultzen, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft and one of the organization's top prospects, is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his ailing shoulder. Shoulder problems limited Hultzen to 30 2/3 innings at Triple-A Tacoma this season. He was supposed to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but the latest news puts that in jeopardy. ... The Royals went into Tuesday night with an 83-73 record, marking the first time they've been 10 or more games above .500 since 1989. Now they are nine games over .500.
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