SEATTLE -- Felipe Paulino has come a long way in just four months.
Paulino, who was designated for assignment May 22 by Colorado and acquired by Kansas City for cash four days later, had one of the finest outings of his career Saturday night. He struck out 11 and allowed two hits in seven innings in a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the first and Jeff Francoeur added an insurance solo shot in the ninth.
Paulino (3-10) gave up homers to Justin Smoak and Mike Carp, but he tamed the rest of the Mariners. He tied his career high in strikeouts and walked none.
"I showed my stuff today: changeup, curveball, fastball, slider, sinker," said Paulino, who has won two of last three decisions. "Sometimes maybe they not work. Today, they stick together."
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Michael Pineda (9-10), who worked a career-high eight innings, was the losing pitcher. He allowing three runs -- all in the first inning -- and five hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
Pineda, who hasn't won since July 30, now has 171 strikeouts, second most for a Mariners rookie behind Mark Langston, who had 204 in 1984.
"It was a pretty good game for both guys. Pineda pitched very well. He's young, too," Paulino said. "But at the end we got the win, not the loss. That's happened to me early in the season."
Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 34 opportunities.
The two hits allowed were a season low for the Royals. The combined 16 strikeouts were two short of the staff's season high.
"He (Paulino) threw the ball extremely well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His stuff was electric. Pineda's stuff was electric. If you're going to get to him, you better get to him early because if he settles down you're going to get what we got. And we did. We got to him early and hung on."
The Royals rattled Pineda in the first. Alex Gordon opened with a double to right. Melky Cabrera moved him to third with a right-side groundout. Billy Butler, 0 for 16 in the series, still managed to bring Gordon home with a fielder's choice grounder to first baseman Smoak, who threw home late.
Hosmer then hit a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen.
"He had just one hit tonight but he smoked one to center, smoked one to left," Yost said of Hosmer. "He's in a nice groove right now. He's seeing the ball good, he's sitting back. His outs are real loud."
Pineda, in his 27th career start, has had trouble all season in the first inning. He had a 6.00 ERA in the inning, allowing six home runs.
"Pineda threw well tonight. Unfortunately, that first inning home run, and the three runs scored," Carp said. "He threw as well as I've seen him in a while. It just sucks we didn't have any hits for him."
Smoak got one back in the second, lining his 14th home run just over the right-field wall on a 2-2 pitch from Paulino.
Two innings later, Carp connected on his ninth home run, a 419-foot shot into the left-field bullpen, also on a 2-2 pitch.
Miguel Olivo reached on a throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas in the fifth. Kyle Seager lined out to Cabrera in center, who threw to first before Olivo could hustle back for a double play.
It was the Royals' major league-leading 49th outfield assist, most in the majors since 2002 and four short of the club record.
In successive plays in the seventh, Francoeur climbed the right-field wall to snatch a potential extra-base hit from Carp, then Moustakas ran down a warning track shot by Smoak to deep center.
"Again Frenchy [Francoeur] saved the game for us with a nice catch in right field," Yost said. "Melky made it back-to-back nice catches."
Hosmer added, "on this road trip Frenchy has made some of the greatest plays I've ever seen."
Carp made an outstanding diving catch in the eighth to rob Hosmer and extra bases.
An unknown Mariners 'artist' played a joke on CF Trayvon Robinson before the game. Robinson crashed against the outfield wall chasing down a flyball Friday, so when he arrived at the ballpark he saw that someone had used athletic tape to shape a body outline impacting the wall. "That's good. Guys are in good spirits," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's a good sign." ... Miguel Olivo, who had a triple, double and home run Friday, missed the cycle by one hit for the 315th time in club history. He is the sixth to fall a single short. ... Two Royals players have at least 40 doubles: Francoeur (44) and Gordon (43). Cabrera (39) and Butler (38) are close. If Cabrera reaches 40, the Royals will be the first team in history to have all three outfielders with 40. If Butler reaches, the Royals will be the fourth team in history to have four with at least 40. ... LH Anthony Vasquez (1-2, 9.00) will make his fourth career start Sunday against the Royals. The Royals also will start a lefty, Everett Teaford (0-0, 3.21), who is more experienced but new to the rotation. He has had 24 appearances out of the bullpen but this will be his first start.