Young gets first loss as Twins pile on extra-base hits
Mariners mount comeback attempt in eighth, but it falls short
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Young has been a strong rotation fill-in for the Mariners this season, but the big right-hander suffered his first loss Friday and gave up a career-high seven extra-base hits in the process as the Twins topped Seattle, 5-4, at Target Field.
The 6-foot-10 Young fell to 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA, though the five runs in seven innings didn't seem severe, given that his 10 hits included two home runs and five doubles.
"It just wasn't my best," said Young. "When I made a mistake, they hit it. And when I made a good pitch, I felt like they hit it, too. Some nights you run into a hot team and you tip your hat. It's just one of those nights. The guys gave it a fight and tried to come back and bail me out, I just dug 'em too big a hole."
Seattle rallied from a 5-1 deficit with three runs in the top of the eighth, then had the tying run on third with one out in the ninth against Twins closer Glen Perkins. But the southpaw got Corey Hart to pop out to first and Justin Smoak to ground out to end the threat and drop the Mariners a game under .500 at 20-21 as they open a five-game road trip.
Both Twins home runs were solo shots -- by designated hitter Josmil Pinto and second baseman Brian Dozier -- and Young stranded six baserunners, including a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, to keep his team within reach.
Seattle's club record for extra-base hits allowed is eight by Freddy Garcia in a game in 2000. Young is the 15th Mariners pitcher to allow seven extra-base hits, the last being Jeremy Bonderman in a 10-0 loss at Target Field last season.
Young always pitches up and down in the zone, creating problems with his high arm angle, but this time the Twins were able to get on some of his elevated fastballs and drive them with authority.
"He left a lot of pitches up in the zone," said Dozier, who hit his 10th homer of the season in the fifth. "He's been getting guys out with that angle because he's 8-feet tall or whatever. But he left a lot of pitches up in the zone, so even our outs were loud. So we took advantage of that."
The start was easily the roughest of Young's brief tenure in Seattle as the 34-year-old came in with a three-game winning streak and has greatly bolstered a rotation that needed help after spring injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker and the early-season sidelining of James Paxton and Blake Beavan.
"He didn't have his best stuff, but he really battled and gave us seven innings and kept us in the ballgame," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "We didn't give him much support early, but he's going to have days like that. He wasn't as sharp as he usually is, but all in all, we were still in the ballgame."
The Mariners snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak with Robinson Cano's RBI double in the fifth. Cano came just inches short of his second home run of the season when his opposite-field poke hit high off the fence in left-center.
Cano went 2-for-5 to put his average at .304 with 23 RBIs. He's reached base 24 straight games, the second-longest streak of his career and longest current streak in the Majors.
Right fielder Michael Saunders went 3-for-4 with a walk in his first start since hyperextending his knee last Saturday, but the Mariners couldn't put much together against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who improved to 4-3 while giving up one run on six hits over seven frames.
Once Gibson departed, Seattle jumped on reliever Caleb Thielbar for three runs in the eighth with a two-run triple by Dustin Ackley and a sacrifice fly by Mike Zunino cutting the lead to 5-4.
Saunders led off the ninth with his third single of the game, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a grounder to second by Cano. But Perkins, who had a blown save the night before against Boston, slammed the door this time by retiring Hart and Smoak.
How did he get Hart to pop to first?
"A hanging slider," Perkins said after notching his 11th save. "The same thing I threw to Smoak. It's just the luck of the draw. Yesterday I had no luck and today I threw worse pitches than I did yesterday, but I get two outs out of it."
"I just got under it," said Hart, who dropped to .209 on the season with an 0-for-5 night. "It's one of those situations you want to be in and it's tough when you don't get it done. But we'll come back tomorrow and if the situation comes up again, we'll get it done."
Shortstop Brad Miller snapped an 0-for-12 streak with a first-inning single. Miller had gone 1-for-31 over his previous 10 games, but the 24-year-old ripped a single to left on the first pitch he saw Friday and finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
The Twins have won four of their past five to pull even at 20-20 and racked up their fifth straight double-digit hit game with 12.
"They're swinging good bats," said Saunders. "They swung well in the Boston series as well and they're clearly feeling good up there. Chris held us in there and allowed us to stay in the game. We put together a threat off Perkins in the ninth, we just couldn't come away with the win today."