KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hisashi Iwakuma did not need it, but the Seattle Mariners gifted him with a huge lead early Tuesday night.
The Mariners hit five home runs, scoring all of their runs in the first four innings.
Iwakuma (9-4) checked the Royals on three singles before being pulled after seven innings and 92 pitches. He struck out a season-high 10 and walked one.
"I'm very happy that we won the lead early and I'm able to pitch with a good groove and being able to get ahead knowing they're not going to swing early and I took advantage," Iwakuma said through an interpreter.
"When you score a run, you want to come back and shut them down. That way you can get on some momentum. I was able to do that today."
Iwakuma was on the disabled list from April 21 to July 6 with a strained right lat.
"I missed two months, but hopefully things happen in a good way from here on," said Iwakuma, who is 7-2 in 10 starts since coming off the DL.
"I have a lot of confidence right now," he added. "It's my fourth season in the league. I know the league a lot better. I feel stronger. I feel like I've learned a thing or two."
The Royals' confidence level and particularly that of right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is not so high.
Kansas City is 7-13 in September, although it owns a commanding 10-game lead in the American League Central.
Guthrie was yanked after 2 2/3 innings, having allowed nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits, four of them home runs.
"(Poor) location, I guess, would probably be a huge part of my inability to get outs tonight, probably the most important part," Guthrie said. "Obviously, if we execute pitches, we have a better chance of to get a better result, being a ground ball or maybe a swing and miss. I'm extremely disappointed."
Guthrie was making his first start since Aug. 18, and Royals manager Ned Yost was mum on whether the veteran would remain in the rotation.
"I don't make those decisions after games like this," Yost said.
Cano recorded his second two-homer game of the season. His other was July 18 against the New York Yankees. The second baseman homered in his first two at-bats, his 18th and 19th of the season, while driving in four runs.
The Royals avoided the shutout when they scored an unearned run in the eighth off rookie right-hander Tony Zych. Alcides Escobar, who singled, scored after an error by shortstop Ketel Marte.
Escobar's single in the ninth scored right fielder Alex Rios, who had doubled, for the other Kansas City run.
Thanks to the early scoring, the Mariners won eight for the eighth time in their past nine road games.
"We've been pretty good lately," Cano said. "We're doing the little things; we're doing our job. We're hitting guys over and getting the runs in."
Third baseman Kyle Seager and Cano blasted solo shots in the first inning. Seager's home run was his 25th. He and designated hitter Nelson Cruz (42) become the first Mariners to hit 25 or more home runs in a season since Russell Branyan (31) and Jose Lopez (26) in 2009.
Cano homered with Seager and Cruz aboard in a seven-run third.
The inning also included a homer from center fielder Brad Miller that finished Guthrie's brief night. Marte tripled and left fielder Franklin Gutierrez doubled as the Mariners hit for the cycle in the third.
Kansas City rookie right-hander Miguel Almonte, who replaced Guthrie, served up a two-run homer to first baseman Jesus Montero with two outs in the fourth, pushing the Mariners' lead to 11-0. Montero's home run was his third in 10 career games against the Royals.
NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost announced RHP Wade Davis will be his closer for the rest of the season and the playoffs, replacing two-time All-Star RHP Greg Holland, who has battled elbow tightness and inconsistency. ... Royals 2B Omar Infante underwent an MRI exam that detected a Grade 1-plus oblique strain. He probably will be out two to four weeks. ... Mariners 1B Logan Morrison was not with the club, and was with his wife for the Tuesday birth of their first child. Jesus Montero started in his place. ... Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez said he would not miss a start after leaving in the sixth inning Sunday due to a tender elbow. ... Mariners LHP Roenis Elias and Royals RHP Yordano Ventura are the probable starting pitchers for Wednesday's game.