Snell survives scare, helps Mariners double up Royals

SEATTLE -- Ian Snell overcame a scary moment to show the Mariners he has the toughness to be in their rotation next season.

The Seattle right-hander was hit so hard on the wrist by a fifth-inning line drive that he thought it was broken. But he shook it off and stayed in the game long enough to help the Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 Saturday night.

"I thought it was broke cause I couldn't feel nothing," Snell said. "I just went to the ground and started praying to myself, like 'God, don't let it be broken.' It's going so good for me right now."

Mike Sweeney's two-run double sparked the Mariners' four-run first inning that set the tone for victory. Sweeney played 13 seasons for the Royals.

Jack Hannahan and Jack Wilson later had back-to-back two-out RBI doubles in the inning.

Hannahan also hit a home run. Rob Johnson contributed a two-run homer and Jose Lopez had a solo shot in the eighth, his 20th.

The Royals' John Buck hit a two-run home run on an 0-2 pitch from Snell in the third. In the ninth, Mark Teahen and Mitch Maier both homered. It was the rookie Maier's third career home run in five games.

Snell (3-1) was leading 7-2 in the fifth when Maier opened with a line shot off his right wrist. The ball caromed over to first baseman Hannahan for the out. Snell ran over to cover then slumped to the ground in pain.

"I thought it was going to do some damage," Hannahan said. "It hit him flush on the wrist but he was able to bounce back and finish that inning. That tells you a lot about him. He's a competitor."

Snell was acquired along with shortstop Jack Wilson from Pittsburgh on July 29 and is a candidate to be part of the Mariners' 2010 rotation.

Manager Don Wakamatsu had expected to lift Snell after the hit. Trainer Rob Nodine examined the wrist then had him throw several pitches to test it.

"We stood there and he did all the tests and he was extremely strong," Wakamatsu said. "Usually when a guy gets hit that hard, he's not going to be very strong right away and he responded well."

Snell stayed in, retired his final two batters and qualified for the win. Miguel Batista took over in the sixth.

Gil Meche (6-10), who threw 39 pitches in the first inning, took the loss. In his fourth start since coming off the disabled list because of a back strain, Meche went just four innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs.

It's the third time Meche has allowed seven or more runs this season.

"Just about anything negative you could think of tonight, that is what happened," Meche said. "I put us in too big of a hole early in the game like that. Four runs in the first inning is tough to fight back from.

"I haven't pitched really well since coming back [from the DL], but that is no excuse. I still have to go out there and make good pitches and that is something I'm not doing."

Royals manager Trey Hillman said that Meche was not effective in the first because he wasn't challenging the hitters inside.

"When he started pitching inside in the second and third he got better," Hillman said. "Then they started squaring it up again in the fourth."

The Mariners chased Meche with a three-run fourth when Hannahan and Johnson homered.

Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki missed his sixth straight game with a sore left calf. Ichiro, 16 hits short of his record ninth 200-hit season, was asked Friday if he was frustrated and said,

"There should be no reason for me to answer that question. I'm not here to play soccer."

Wakamatsu said: "We're on the exact same page with him. All I told him is let's be smart about it, whatever day that is."

The Mariners took X-rays of Snell's wrist after the game as a precaution.

"I was going to ask the guy if he wanted to sign the wrist, 'Mitch' but I guess he's not available right now."

Game notes
Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre (bruised right testicle) is expected to return Tuesday. RHP Carlos Silva (right shoulder inflammation) will be sent out on a rehab assignment Tuesday. ... Royals OF Jose Guillen (right knee sprain) is stepping up his workouts for a return, although no timetable has been set. ... Jim Bouton threw out the first pitch. He was part of the one-year 1969 Seattle Pilots, who were honored before the game. Bouton threw his pitch to his former catcher, Jerry McNertney.