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May 26, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Mariners 5, Angels 1 — Chris Young continues to pitch well at Safeco

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Box score: 05.26.14 Box Score

Chris Young gave the Mariners another solid start at Safeco on a Monday afternoon, taking advantage of early sun support and carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Young threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on two hits, while striking out five and walking three to improve to 4-2 on the season. He continued his success at spacious Safeco Field – a place he’s never lost. In four starts in Seattle this season, he’s allowed just five runs in 27 1/3 innings pitched for a 1.65 ERA, while opposing hitters are mustering just a .141 batting average against him.

“I was trying to find an adjective  for this guy today,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “What a godsend  for this rotation. He’s just been tremendous.”

With all of the injury issues and the individual struggles of Brandon Maurer, Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan, the acquisition of Young was big.

Young signed with the Mariners with on March 27 with four days remaining in spring training. At the time, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker were recovering from injuries, Roenis Elias was an untested and unproved commodity and veterans Randy Wolf and Scott Baker both opted out of their minor league contracts for their respective reasons. It left the Mariners in desperate need of an arm for the rotation. Two days after Wolf left over a contract dispute, the Mariners signed Young, who had spent spring training with the Nationals and was released two days before.

He’d been a one-time all-star, but he also had missed most of the 2013 season after having a complicated shoulder surgery that required part of one of his ribs to removed.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” McClendon said. “It’s just unbelievable. And he continues to make me say, ‘it’s unbelievable.’  As for expectations, I really didn’t have many. And if I did, I’d say he’s far exceeded them.”

Young has been solid. There were a few less than stellar starts, but he’s been steady while others have struggled.

“He’s filled a huge hole for us,” said catcher Mike Zunino said. “He’s come in and given us great starts every fifth day. He’s done such a good job for us. ”

Of course, the situation has worked out well for Young. There was a chance he might have had to start the season in the minor leagues if the Mariners hadn’t have come calling with a $1.5 million contract.

“I try not evaluate it at this point,” he said. “I love it here. I’m grateful for  the opportunity and I want to continue to make the most of it. The Mariners took a chance on me and I want to reward them for it.”

Young carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The only base runner over the first five innings was a lead-off walk to David Freese in the second. But a line-out double play to end the inning, kept Young facing the minimum amount of hitters.

“I had a nice rhythm,” Young said. “I just tried to be aggressive in the strike zone early.”

With one out in the sixth, Kole Calhoun lined a single up the middle over his to break up the no-hit bid.

“I try not to get caught up in results early,” Young said. “They hit some balls hard early that could have easily been hits. I was aware of it, but you don’t expect to throw no-hitters.”

Young’s only run allowed came in the seventh inning. He gave up a lead-off home run to Albert Pujols. Young faced two more batters in the inning, getting Freese to pop out and walking Raul Ibanez.

The M’s got all their runs in the first two innings. They got some breaks with some defensive miscues from the Angels.

Robinson Cano finished the day 3-for-4 with two RBI  and upped his batting average to .332 – second best in the American League. Michael Saunders had two hits, including a triple.

McClendon was asked if his comments postgame yesterday were an effort to motivate the team today.

“It was not that at all,” he said. “I was probably more ticked off at myself for not having them prepared properly. That happens. Yesterday’s game was on me, not on my players. Today they were a little bit  better.”

 

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