Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and rookie James Paxton pitched 7 shutout innings to lead the Mariners to a 4-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.  It was Smoaks 19th home-run of the year but only his second home-run from the right side.  Paxton, making just his fourth major league start, worked a career-high seven innings, allowing four hits, walking none and striking out a career-high 10.

The playoff picture looks as bleak as it can be for the Royals (83-74). They are four games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card berth with five games to play.

The loss, hurt the Royals chances of the playoffs. The Royals' three competitors for the two wild-card spots — Tampa Bay, Texas and Cleveland — all won Tuesday. The Royals need to win every game and have both the Indians and Rangers completely collapse.

The Mariner's host the Royals again tonight at Safeco Field.