SEATTLE — Baltimore manager Buck Showalter has a reputation for having his teams well prepared for every situation.
But, as he says: “You can’t teach 6-foot-10.”
Chris Young, among the tallest pitchers in major league history, allowed two hits in seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak by holding off the Orioles 4-3 on Saturday.
“It’s just the release point. And you can’t teach somebody to be tall,” Showalter said. “You throw the velocity out of it because the plane he throws the baseball at is hard to center up.”
Dustin Ackley doubled twice and scored two runs for Seattle. Robinson Cano had an RBI double.
After the Orioles took advantage of an error by All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager to score three times in the eighth, Fernando Rodney closed it out for his 200th career save.
Baltimore has a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East.
Young (9-6) walked three and matched his season high with eight strikeouts. Over his past seven starts, the big right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
“He really kept them off balance all day,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “His secondary stuff was real sharp.”
The 35-year-old right-hander from Princeton has won nine games for the first time since 2007 with San Diego, when he was 9-8. His career high is 12 wins in 2005 with Texas.
“He’s a good man and in a good situation here. They’re lucky to have him,” said Showalter, who was Young’s first manager with the Rangers.
Young did not pitch in the majors last season, dealing with constant shoulder pain. He had surgery last June that relieved his discomfort and got him back on track.
After getting released by Washington this spring — the sixth time in his career he was let go — it appeared to be the end of the line for Young. But the Mariners picked him up on waivers.
“I think he’s getting stronger,” McClendon said. “We’ve made a real conscious effort to watch his pitch count and give him a sixth day (off) when we have the opportunity. And I think it’s paying off.”
Delmon Young got the only two hits off Chris Young.
“As a hitter, (the fastball) feels a lot harder. He is staying on top of the zone pretty much. He got us to expand the zone with the balls up,” Delmon Young said.
Chris Young was pulled with a 4-0 lead in the eighth, and Baltimore nearly wiped it out. Danny Farquhar took over, and the Orioles put runners on first and second with two outs.
Left-hander Joe Beimel entered and got Chris Davis to hit a grounder to third that went through Seager, allowing two runs to score. J.J. Hardy drove in Davis with a single.
Rodney worked the ninth for his AL-leading 28th save in 31 opportunities. The game ended when he caught David Lough, who had walked, trying to steal second.
“David felt it, went for it and it didn’t work out,” Showalter said. “If you are waiting around for three or four hits off Rodney, you are probably not going to score.”
Bud Norris (8-7), who won five of his previous six starts, went five innings for the Orioles. He allowed four runs and six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
“He wasn’t as efficient with his pitches as he needs to be,” Showalter said. “But the game didn’t get away from him. I figured we’d make a run at them at some point, which we did.”
The Mariners touched up Norris for three runs in the third. After loading the bases with one out, he hit Kendrys Morales with a 1-2 pitch to force in a run. Seager followed with an RBI single to right.
With two outs and an 0-2 count on Logan Morrison, the Orioles shifted their defense and left only one infielder on the left side, shaded toward second base. Morrison then reached out and punched an RBI single through the wide-open left side.
Left fielder Nelson Cruz bobbled the ball, but Morales hesitated breaking for home. He was thrown out when he tried to get back to third.
Consecutive doubles by Ackley and Cano produced another run in the fifth, making it 4-0.
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