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SEA@HOU: Walker fans two over five to tally first win

Kansas City is 4 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race and bidding for its first playoff appearance since 1985. With so much on the line, manager Ned Yost is doing his best to avoid getting caught up in the standings.

"What good does it do me?" Yost asked. "I can pay attention to it all I want and if we don't win a ballgame that night, what difference does it make? So, I stay focused on what we need to do."

The Royals put themselves in position to play meaningful September baseball by posting winning records in four of the first five months. Riding a three-game win streak after winning the first two of this four-game series against the Mariners, right-hander Ervin Santana looks to continue the momentum he has carried since the All-Star break.

Over the season's second half, Santana is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA in nine starts.

However, he took the loss last Friday after allowing three runs on four hits and two walks in seven innings against the Blue Jays.

Santana will be opposed by rookie right-hander Taijuan Walker, who made a stellar Major League debut last Friday. The 21-year-old allowed just one unearned run in five innings to beat the Astros.

"He did a nice job," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was under control out there; you could tell he was kind of feeling his way early on. He was more and more comfortable as the game wore on and let the ball go a few times."

Much of the Royals' success in this series has come with the Mariners' inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Through the first two games, the Mariners are 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 17 men on base. Over its last four games, Seattle is 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position.

Mariners: Six-man rotation means more rest
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are on pace to pitch over 200 innings. But the deep-pitching duo of 2013 All-Stars will get a little more rest down the stretch as the starting rotation increases to six.

The move -- in addition to giving the aces a break -- will allow the Mariners to get more of a look at their two recent callups, rookies Walker and James Paxton.

Paxton will make his first big league appearance on Saturday against the Rays.

• Hernandez was lifted after 105 pitches in Monday's 3-1 loss to the Royals for precautionary reasons due to a cramp in his lower back.

Still, the 2010 Cy Young Award winner is set to make his next start on Sunday.

"Felix is a little bit sore, a little bit stiff today," Wedge said before Tuesday's game. "We'll see how he feels the next couple of days and go from there."

Royals: Getz leaves Tuesday's game
Royals second baseman Chris Getz left Tuesday night's game after the second inning due to dizziness and an upset stomach. Manager Ned Yost said that tests indicated it was a possible concussion.

"He felt fine before the game," Yost said.

After making a sliding stop of a ground ball hit by Mike Zunino, Getz skipped a routine throw past first baseman Billy Butler for an error.

"That play, where he had to range way over to his left, he caught the ball and when he turned to throw, he threw off-balance and then he fell and kind of snapped his head and got real dizzy from that point on. We don't really know what it was," Yost said.

Emilio Bonifacio replaced Getz at second.

Worth noting

• Walker is just the third Mariners starter to not allow an earned run in a Major League debut.

• Shortstop Alcides Escobar has converted all of his 18 stolen base attempts for the Royals this season and owns the franchise record for consecutive steals.

• The Mariners went 7-1 against the Royals a year ago, but are 0-2 this season.

• Seattle has 97 solo homers this season, tied for second most in the Major Leagues.

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