KANSAS CITY -- While much of the focus in Wednesday's 8-7 loss by the Mariners revolved around a play at the plate when Brendan Ryan was thrown out in the eighth inning, lost in the shuffle was an excellent slide by Casper Wells in the sixth to avoid a tag and score on an RBI single by Miguel Olivo.
Wells used an old-school hook slide to get around the Giants' Buster Posey for a key run in a 2-1 win at Safeco Field on June 17. This time he went wide to the right of the Royals' Brayan Pena before reaching around the catcher's mitt to touch the plate with his hand.
It was a move that even caught the eye of home-plate umpire Jim Joyce.
"When I came up later in the game, Joyce said it was the best slide he'd seen all year," Wells said. "I've done that a couple times this year. I just try to go as far away from the catcher as possible because they're not taught to get the runner, they're taught to go right in front of the plate."
Wells likely would have been out with a better throw from right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who has one of the best outfield arms in baseball. Third-base coach Jeff Datz calculated all that in trying to hold Wells up at the last second, but Wells had already committed by that time and steamed on into the plate.
"Datz was actually holding me up on that one, but the call was a little too late and I was already running," Wells said. "I was thinking, 'It's too late to stop now.' I just kept going and it's a good thing the throw wasn't right there at the plate or I'd have got stuffed. Francoeur has a good arm, but I saw I had a little window."
No manager wants to encourage players to run through signs, but Eric Wedge understood the circumstances on this one.
"It was going to be a late call for Datzy and Casper ran through it, but sometimes those things work out," Wedge said. "Fortunately for us, he made a great slide. I thought Ryan made a great slide later in the game, too, but whether or not he got to the plate nobody is ever going to really know.
"But sometimes you're going to run through those stop signs because you're being so aggressive. You'd rather be that way than running into third base looking to hold up. It happens from time to time."
Catching Millwood a 'good education' for Montero
KANSAS CITY -- Mariners veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood has worked with catcher Jesus Montero in 10 of his 18 starts this season and, in fact, played with him last year for a time on the Yankees' Triple-A club as well.
But for the second game this season, Millwood and Montero didn't seem on the same page at times during Wednesday's 8-7 loss to the Royals, with the rookie having to come out and visit the mound numerous times to get things square between them.
At one point, Montero went out to talk to Millwood, returned to the plate, then went back out again without another pitch having even been thrown.
What was up?
"I was just trying to get the fans to boo," Millwood said. "That was it. Actually, he came out the first time and I told him one thing, then when he went back behind the plate I changed my mind. That was kind of the whole deal."
Left unsaid is that Millwood is trying to get the youngster to think through situations with him, and the learning process hasn't always been seamless. But the overall experience is beneficial for the 22-year-old, according to manager Eric Wedge.
"They've had moments of that this year. But I think it's been good for Montero, being with a veteran guy out there and watching how he does things and the whys," said Wedge, himself a former catcher. "It's been a good education for Jesus. I know at times it might be a little tougher for him, but I think it's been good for him. And he's handled it well."
Seager feasting on clutch situations for Seattle
KANSAS CITY -- Kyle Seager's penchant for delivering timely hits has been well-chronicled as the Mariners third baseman leads the American League and was tied for the Major League lead in two-out RBIs with 33 going into Thursday's series finale with the Royals.
Through Wednesday, Seager ranked 11th in the AL in total RBIs with 58, while the next closest Mariners player was Justin Smoak with 38.
For Seager, the key clearly has been coming through in big situations. When he's come to the plate with no runners on, he's hit .201 (40-for-199). But with runners on, he's batting .312 (39-for-125). And with runners in scoring position, the number goes up to .361 (30-for-83).
"Unbelievable," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's been a clutch player for us. I think he thrives on those situations and that's half the battle. You've got to want to be up there in those situations. He's been big for us."
• Franklin Gutierrez didn't do any on-field work Thursday as he continues recovering from the concussion suffered on June 29, when he got hit in the head with a pickoff throw. He'll travel with the team to Tampa this weekend to continue working with the club.
• Rookie pitcher Erasmo Ramirez threw his second bullpen session on Thursday since going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow. He'll throw a simulated game Saturday in Tampa and the Mariners will then decide whether he's ready to begin a Minor League rehab stint.
• Triple-A Tacoma won an 18-inning, 2-1 game on Wednesday night when infielder Scott Savastano pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 18th, then hit a walk-off home run to end it. Mike Carp went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI while playing first base for the first 12 frames. Danny Hultzen started and had his best Triple-A outing so far (six innings, three hits, one run, two walks and eight strikeouts).