Left-hander Jason Vargas is on a roll -- and has been for most of his first season with the Royals.
In his last five starts, Vargas is 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA, all quality starts. In fact, 12 of his 15 starts have qualified in the "quality" category.
Vargas, who spent four years with the Mariners, shut them out for seven innings on three singles on May 9 at Safeco Field, a 6-1 Royals victory. He'll face his former team again on Saturday with the Royals looking to fight their way back into first place. The Mariners took the opening game of the series, 7-5, after blowing a five-run lead. Kansas City dropped to a half-game behind Detroit for the American League Central lead.
In his last outing, Vargas held the Tigers to two runs in seven innings of what became an 11-8 Royals win.
Seattle will send Chris Young to the mound, who's racked up a 3.40 ERA over 13 starts this season after sitting out all of 2013. Young's best outing in 2014 came on May 10, when he held the Royals to one run on three hits and zero walks over eight innings.
"He is a very unique pitcher based on his size, angle and his ability to work up in the strike zone," Padres manager Bud Black said.
With his most recent win over San Diego, Young has racked up six wins, his most since he pitched for the Padres in 2008. He'll look to build on that against a streaking Kansas City team that's won 10 of its last 12.
Royals: Yost not feeling pressure
After a recent 10-game winning streak, Kansas City found itself in an unfamiliar position of first place. Though the Royals relinquished their AL Central lead with Friday night's loss, manager Ned Yost said he doubts that being in first place made things any more difficult for his players.
"I think these guys expected to get to this point anyway. I don't think it's going to be any harder," Yost said. "I think they're in their game now, they all have confidence in the way they're playing the game and swinging the bats. I don't think it's going to be any different. ... I don't feel any different. I don't feel any different than when we were five games out."
Mariners: Seager gets a break from defense
After 37 straight starts at the hot corner, Kyle Seager finally received a respite on Friday night.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon slotted his third baseman as the designated hitter for the series opener with the Royals.
McClendon said his intentions were to: "Get [Seager] off his legs a little bit. We've been grinding him pretty good, just freshen him up a little bit."
Utility man Willie Bloomquist got the nod at third base, his fifth start at the hot corner this season.
• The Royals have 20 home runs in their last 21 games after hitting just 21 in their first 52 contests.
• Seattle has not allowed an unearned run since May 11, when it yielded two to Kansas City.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.