SEATTLE – Four months ago, Chris Young was on the verge of retiring from baseball. Good thing for the Mariners he decided to give the game another shot.
Young allowed two hits in seven shutout innings and Seattle snapped a four-game losing streak by holding off the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Saturday.
“In my last start the team spotted me three early runs and I gave it right back in Anaheim,” Young said. “In the back of my mind I’m thinking, don’t let up, don’t lose focus, continue to make good pitches, one good pitch after the next.
“They’re very capable of coming back and coming back very quickly, as they almost did today.”
Dustin Ackley doubled twice and scored two runs for the Mariners. Robinson Cano had an RBI double.
After the Orioles took advantage of an error by All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager to score three times in the eighth, Fernando Rodney closed it out for his 200th career save.
Young (9-6) walked three and matched his season high with eight strikeouts. Over his past seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
The 35-year-old right-hander from Princeton has won nine games for the first time since 2007 with San Diego, when he was 9-8. His career high is 12 wins in 2005 with Texas.
“He really kept them off-balance all day,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “His secondary stuff was real sharp.”
The 6-foot-10 Young did not pitch in the majors last season, dealing with constant shoulder pain. He had surgery last June that relieved his discomfort and got him back on track.
“He’s a good man and in a good situation here. They’re lucky to have him,” said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter, who was Young’s first manager with the Rangers.
After getting released by Washington this spring – the sixth time in his career he was let go – it appeared to be the end of the line for Young. But the Mariners picked him up on waivers.
“I think he’s getting stronger,” McClendon said. “We’ve made a real conscious effort to watch his pitch count and give him a sixth day (off) when we have the opportunity. And I think it’s paying off.”
Delmon Young got the only two hits off Chris Young.
“As a hitter, (the fastball) feels a lot harder. He is staying on top of the zone pretty much. He got us to expand the zone with the balls up,” Delmon Young said.
Danny Farquhar took over for Chris Young in the eighth and nearly shut the door before the Orioles scored three times. A two-out error by Seager on Chris Davis’ grounder allowed a pair of runs to score. J.J. Hardy drove in Davis with a single.
Rodney worked the ninth for his A.L.-leading 28th save in 31 opportunities. The game ended when he caught David Lough trying to steal second.
“I saw him over my left shoulder,” Rodney said. “He was trying to get in scoring position, but I saw it.” I step off, got him.”
Said Showalter: “David felt it, went for it and it didn’t work out. If you are waiting around for three or four hits off Rodney, you are probably not going to score.”
Bud Norris (8-7), who won five of his previous six starts, went five innings for the Orioles. He allowed four runs and six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
The Mariners touched up Norris for three runs in the third. After loading the bases with one out, he hit Kendrys Morales with a 1-2 pitch to force in a run. Seager followed with an RBI single to right.
With two outs and an 0-2 count on Logan Morrison, the Orioles shifted their defense and left only one infielder on the left side, shaded toward second base. Morrison then reached out and punched an RBI single through the wide-open left side.
Left fielder Nelson Cruz bobbled the ball, but Morales hesitated breaking for home. He was thrown out when he tried to get back to third.
Consecutive doubles by Ackley and Cano produced another run in the fifth, making it 4-0.