Young has 3 hits in Athletics' loss to Mariners
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Chris Young kept working on his hitting even as his numbers fell. Getting a chance to bat in the leadoff spot seemed like a good time to put it all together.
Young homered as part of a three-hit night, but it went for naught. Mike Zunino hit his first career home run, a tiebreaking solo shot in the seventh inning, and the Seattle Mariners held on for a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
"It felt good,'' Young said of the home run. "It would have felt a lot better if we won. That was a tough loss.''
The Athletics were coming off an 18-inning, 3-2 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday, though Oakland manager Bob Melvin said fatigue had nothing to do with the loss.
"I felt no difference,'' he said. "(Joe) Saunders pitched well. It was Zunino's home run.''
Two days after making his big league debut, Zunino connected on a 1-1 pitch from Oakland starter Tommy Milone (6-6) and hit a towering shot to center field to help snap the Athletics' 11-game home winning streak.
"It was a changeup right down the middle,'' Milone said. "I was trying to get him to hit a weak fly ball, and he barreled it.''
Getting Young going, especially without having Coco Crisp or Josh Donaldson available, was a good thing, though.
"I've just been working, trying to produce and making the necessary adjustments to have success,'' Young said.
The Mariners had lost five of eight before beating the division-leading A's to begin a seven-game trip. They did it behind a steady offense - every starter but Kendrys Morales had at least one hit - and a stellar effort from Saunders.
"Saunders' ball was moving pretty good,'' Melvin said. "He pitched in enough to open the outside, and threw his breaking ball for strikes.''
The Seattle left-hander struck out four and walked two, pitching out of jams in the second, third and seventh innings. Saunders had been winless in six previous starts away from Safeco Field and had a 9.00 ERA on the road before handcuffing the A's.
Danny Farquhar pitched the eighth and allowed Young's homer. Oliver Perez worked the ninth for his first career save. Perez was in the closer's role after Seattle manager Eric Wedge decided to go with a bullpen-by-committee approach following Tom Wilhelmsen's recent struggles.
The A's tied it in the fifth with a little help from the Mariners. Adam Rosales reached on a fielder's choice grounder and scored when Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin and right fielder Jason Bay bumped into each other chasing Eric Sogard's fly ball.
Franklin appeared to make the catch but Bay's glove hit Franklin's, and the ball popped out and rolled away as Rosales circled the bases. Sogard was credited with an RBI double.
Milone pitched into the seventh but left following Zunino's homer and a two-out throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie. He struck out four and walked three.
Franklin singled leading off the eighth against A's reliever Dan Otero and scored on Raul Ibanez's two-out sharp liner that skipped off Nate Freiman into right field to make it 3-1.
Young, batting leadoff for the first time this season while Crisp rested his bruised right heel, homered off Farquhar to make it 3-2.
NOTES: Donaldson was rested a day after he sustained a leg strain. ... The A's signed first-round draft pick Billy McKinney. McKinney had committed to TCU before being chosen with the No. 24. ... Otero was called up from Triple-A Sacramento before the game. Oakland optioned LHP Hideki Okajima to the minors to make room. ... Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4) will take a 2.49 ERA into Saturday's game. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (5-5), winless in his last three starts, will pitch for the A's.
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