ARLINGTON, Texas – Chris Young couldn’t overcome a slow start for the Seattle Mariners.
He gave up three runs in the first inning and a tiebreaking home run to Shin-Soo Choo in the fifth in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
Young (3-2) gave up seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.
“I grew up as a Rangers fan, coming to this ballpark,” Young said. “I wanted to come in here and win, that’s why I’m disappointed that I didn’t get that done.
“You have those games where if you can limit the damage early, you feel like you’ll pitch a good game. I gave up one too many in the first.”
Texas’ first five batters reached base, with Elvis Andrus hitting a two-run homer and Alex Rios singling home the third run.
“(Young) works up in the strike zone. In the first inning, we did a good job of laying off it and making him work,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Seattle tied the game at 3 in the fourth. James Jones led off with a triple and scored on Michael Saunders’ single. Robinson Cano then hit a two-run homer.
Center fielder Michael Choice ran back to attempt a catch, but his glove hit the wall as the ball barely cleared it.
Choo led off the fifth with his homer into the bullpen in left-center.
“Got a home run that got up in that gust a little bit, that’s it,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s a tough ballpark to pitch in, but I thought (Young) did a pretty darn good job for us.”
“He gave us quality innings after the first inning, really got us in a position to use the bullpen guys we needed to, and not stretch anybody.”
Young wasn’t using the wind as an excuse. He knows how the park plays from his days as a fan from Highland Park and as a Rangers pitcher.
“I thought it was a decent pitch. Some places it’s not (out),” he said. “If it was a better pitch, maybe he doesn’t hit it out.
“Their pitcher pitched in the same stadium. You have got to be better than their guy, that’s the way I look at it, whether you give up 10, or you give up one, you have to be better than their guy. I wasn’t today.”
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (1-0) won for the first time since July 5, 2013. He was making his second major league appearance this season.
After Cano doubled with one out in the sixth, Tepesch regrouped to retire Kyle Seager on a fly ball and struck out Justin Smoak.
The Mariners threatened in the seventh. With one out, Tepesch walked Dustin Ackley and John Buck.
Left-hander Robbie Ross replaced Tepesch and escaped the inning when pinch hitter Stefen Romero grounded into a double play.
Ross was pitching for the first time since being removed from the Rangers’ rotation. He pitched out of their bullpen in 2012 and ’13.
“I was thinking, ‘Gosh, here we go! I’m in a situation where I like to be.’ I was pretty amped. I wanted to be out of that inning without those runs scoring,” he said.
Seattle had only one baserunner against Tepesch in the first three innings: Seager on a leadoff single in the second. He was erased in an unusual 4-5-3 double play. With Texas’ defense shifted to the right, Smoak grounded to second baseman Luis Sardinas, who threw to Adrian Beltre covering second. Beltre’s relay throw to first beat Smoak.