SEATTLE — With most of the Seattle rotation on the disabled list, it was often-injured veteran Chris Young who provided a stabilizing element Sunday.
Young pitched six shutout innings and was gone by the time the Oakland Athletics beat the Mariners 3-0.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Charlie Furbush (0-1). Josh Donaldson homered in the ninth off Lucas Luetge.
Young made his first start since Sept. 9, 2012, while with the New York Mets. Troubled by shoulder problems all last season, he went to spring camp this year with the Washington Nationals, was released and signed during the last week of training camp by Seattle.
Young gave up four hits, walked three and struck out two. His other game for Seattle was a two-inning scoreless stint in relief.
“I was really, really pleased with his outing,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He got a lot of flyball outs, teased them up in the zone a bit. I think he is close. I saw his breaking ball coming today. When that pitch comes for him, he’s going to be pretty tough.”
“I’m excited for him and I know he is feeling good about his performance,” he said.
The Mariners started the season without Taijuan Walker (shoulder) and Hisashi Iwakuma (finger ligament). Both could be back before the end of the month. Then James Paxson was put on the disabled list last Wednesday with strained lat muscle.
“The results were decent. I gave the team a chance but I feel I can pitch better,” the 6-foot-10 Young said.
“I feel I can throw the ball better. The three walks were too many. Ultimately, I competed, made pitches when I had to. For the first start, it’s not bad but I want to build on it.”
Young has been sidelined with shoulder ailments throughout his 10-year career. Last summer it was so bad he couldn’t even play catch.
“The Nationals’ doctors got me to the right place. They said, ‘We don’t think it’s a shoulder issue. We think it is a nerve issue and it might have been a nerve issue all along,’” Young said. “So I had surgery and since then no pain in my shoulder. It’s been great.”
“Since that point I’ve dedicated myself to getting back to the big leagues and being a successful pitcher.”
A’s starter Scott Kazmir pitched two-hit ball for six innings, striking out nine without a walk. He left with tightness in his left triceps and said it wouldn’t cost him a start.
Dan Otero (2-0) retired two batters in the seventh. Luke Gregerson worked the eighth and Sean Doolittle allowed one hit in the ninth for his first save.
Kazmir didn’t allow a runner and struck out six the first time through the lineup. The Mariners got back-to-back, one-out singles by Brad Miller and Robinson Cano in the fourth, but Kazmir retired Corey Hart on a grounder and struck out Justin Smoak with a 78 mph changeup.
The Mariners’ only other scoring threat came with two outs in the sixth when Brad Miller sent right fielder Eric Sogard to the wall to bring down his flyball.
Cano, who singled in the fourth, has a 14-game hitting streak against Oakland dating to Sept. 22, 2012.
NOTES: McClendon isn’t sure about Major League Baseball’s expanded replay format. “I’m really worried about where we’re heading with replays, the effect it’s having on the game, the effect it’s having on the fans,” he said. “It’s confusing.” McClendon is concerned about the outfield transfer rule, when umpires look to be sure fielders successfully switch the ball from the glove to their hands. The Mariners already have had three such plays this season, with mixed results. “It was made for the play at second, on the double-play ball,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t think anyone thought it would come into play in the outfield as you’re seeing right now.” Both managers have had to talk to their players to be certain that runners go against their instincts and watch the umpires, not the play, in order to advance or hold. “I think the players are struggling more than the managers,” McClendon said. “Initially, I thought I’d be a fan of it. But I’m not so sure now.” … Walker (shoulder) is scheduled to make another rehab start Tuesday in the minors. Seattle has an open spot in the rotation for that day, but McClendon said he doesn’t know when Walker will be called up.