Young cruises in first meeting with former team
Right-hander wins on day of mourning; Seager, Miller belt HRs
SEATTLE -- Chris Young had pitched against every team in the Majors except his former Padres club until Monday night, when the big Mariners right-hander shut down San Diego in a 5-1 win at Safeco Field.
But any joy over finally meeting and beating his old club was tempered by the morning's news of the death of Tony Gwynn, a man Young got to know and respect during his five years with the Padres from 2006-10.
So while Young was happy with his six scoreless innings as the Mariners (36-34) won the first of four straight games against San Diego, the 34-year-old was quick to pay tribute to the former Padres legend.
"I have a lot of great memories from San Diego, a lot of great people," Young said. "But any fun about pitching against them sort of disappeared this morning with the news of Tony passing.
"He is the city of San Diego. You talk Padre baseball, Tony Gwynn is everything there. The fact he spent his whole career there, the records he put up there, what he means for that city and franchise, as a resident of San Diego now I certainly understand and appreciate his greatness. It's a sad, sad day for everyone there."
The 6-foot-10 Young allowed just four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in a smooth 88-pitch performance. Young spent much of the early part of his career with San Diego and was a National League All-Star for the Padres in '07, but until Monday that was the only club he'd never faced in his 10 years in the big leagues.
The big right-hander crossed the last team off his bucket list in impressive fashion, as he improved to 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA. The six wins are his most in a season since 2008 with the Padres, and he's now 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in seven home starts this year.
"He is a very unique pitcher based on his size, angle and his ability to work up in the strike zone," Padres manager Bud Black said.
After scoring just two runs in Young's last two starts, the Mariners offered a lot more support right out of the chute Monday as Kyle Seager launched his 10th home run of the season with a three-run shot off Tyson Ross in the first inning.
Shortstop Brad Miller followed with a solo shot in the second after Ross had allowed just one home run in his previous six starts and the Mariners made it 5-0 when Robinson Cano followed with an RBI double.
Seager became the first Mariner to homer on a 3-0 pitch since John Jaso on Aug. 10, 2012. It was Seager's fifth straight hit after a 4-for-4 day on Sunday, and he increased his team lead in RBIs to 45. He finished 1-for-2 with two walks as Seattle drew seven bases on balls from Ross in his 5 2/3 innings.
Getting the green light on a 3-0 count was a welcome boost for Seager, who delivered when he got a fastball up and over the plate.
"It's a good feeling. It's good when the skipper has confidence in you," said Seager. "In that situation, I'd already seen a couple pitches. He's got the big sinkerball and we knew that. That's kind of a ground ball waiting to happen there. So when you get the opportunity, you have to make sure you capitalize and get a ball in the air."
Seager did that and more, depositing a 395-foot shot into the right-field seats. Nine of Seager's 10 home runs and 28 of his 45 RBIs have come at Safeco Field, as he's one of the rare Mariners who's performed well at home, where Seattle's record is now 16-20 compared to 20-14 on the road.
Miller's home run was his fifth of the year and he's hit .260 with nine runs, two homers and six RBIs over his last 16 games as he's slowly begun turning his average back around to .179 after a difficult start.
"I definitely feel like the last couple weeks I've been feeling a lot better," Miller said. "Obviously you want to get everything back in one day, but I'm just having better at-bats and being more competitive in there and that definitely adds up."
Rookie center fielder James Jones went 1-for-5, scored twice and stole three bases after reaching twice on fielder's choices. Jones leads the team with 10 stolen bases in his first 42 games and his three on Monday were just one off the club record and the most by a Mariner since Ichiro Suzuki stole three on Aug. 4, 2010.
"He was pretty slow to the plate and I was just trying to be aggressive," said Jones, who tied a Mariners rookie record of three in one game set by Ichiro in 2001 and Kim Allen in 1980.
The Padres scored their lone run on a leadoff homer by Carlos Quentin off Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth as they lost for the seventh time in their past eight games, falling to 29-41.