KANSAS CITY -- Seattle designated hitter Dustin Ackley likes to face Kansas City left-hander Jason Vargas.
Ackley's single with two out in the ninth inning scored third baseman Kyle Seager and gave the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
While Ackley is 5-for-10 against Vargas, he was not feeling real comfortable at the plate in the ninth. He fouled off a couple of pitches down the right-field line before dumping in the game-winning hit.
"It was basically a battling at-bat," Ackley said.
Seager doubled with two out off Vargas to prompt a mound visit from manager Ned Yost, who left Vargas in the game.
"If it works out, you are smart," Yost said. "If not, you are the dumbest guy in the stadium. I was the dumbest guy in the stadium."
After right fielder Stefen Romero's infield single that second baseman Pedro Ciriaco bobbled, Ackley delivered the clutch run-producing hit.
"Certainly, we have to take advantage of that," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of Ciriaco's misplay that was dubiously ruled a hit.
"We've certainly had breaks go against us, so when we have one go in our favor we have to take advantage."
Said Yost: "It's a ball you either step up on or step back to play the hop."
Vargas (7-3) took the loss, allowing 10 hits and two runs in 8 2/3 innings. He lost despite his sixth consecutive quality start and his team-leading 13th of the season.
Right-hander Yoervis Medina (4-1) pitched a spotless eighth, striking out two, and was credited with the victory.
Right-hander Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth and logged his 20th save in 22 opportunities. He walked center fielder Jarrod Dyson, but got a double play to end the game.
Mariners starter Chris Young left after 99 pitches and seven innings, allowing one run and three hits, while walking one and striking out two.
"I'm from Texas, so I've pitched in a lot hotter games than this," Young said of the 90-plus degrees temperature. "It reminds me of being a kid.
"It's challenging because you have to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water, but it doesn't matter what the conditions are when the other pitcher is pitching in the same conditions."
In two starts this season against the Royals, Young had permitted two runs and six hits in 15 innings.
"I struggle more off soft-tossing guys than I do off guys throwing 100," said Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, who went 0-for-3. "It's tough. You have to wait.
"He was throwing it up in the zone. He's always had a good high fastball because he's so tall. It's funky. You don't see it every day. He's locating. He threw some good off-speed pitches and basically kept us off balance all day."
Shortstop Brad Miller led off the Mariners third with a bunt single and advanced to second on center fielder James Jones' single down the third-base line.
Left fielder Cole Gillespie dumped a single into shallow left field to score Miller with the first run. Vargas prevented further damage when he coaxed first baseman Logan Morrison to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar deprived catcher John Buck a hit in the fourth with a great defensive play. Escobar dived to snag Buck's grounder headed up the middle and threw him out from his knees on the outfield grass.
Young, who had shoulder surgery in 2009, 2011 and last June, retired the first 12 batters he faced before left fielder Alex Gordon led off the fifth with his team-leading ninth home run.
Gordon, who flied out to the right-field fence in the second inning, drove a full-count pitch over the right-field wall the second time he faced Young.
"Outside of Gordon, we really didn't square a ball up off him," Yost said.