Fantasy Football 2014:

Young, Mariners win pitching duel vs. Royals' Ventura

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Veteran Chris Young continues to defy the odds during what was supposed to be a short stint as a fill-in starter with the Seattle Mariners.

On Saturday, he outdueled hard-throwing Kansas City phenom Yordano Ventura as the Mariners beat the Royals 3-1 at Safeco Field.

"So far so good," Young said after winning his third consecutive game to improve to 3-0 in seven starts with the Mariners. "But my goal is to help this team make the playoffs; my goal isn't to just make five or six starts."

First baseman Justin Smoak and left fielder Dustin Ackley hit home runs, while Young won the size-vs.-speed pitching matchup against Kansas City's Ventura (2-2). The Royals' 22-year-old rookie touched 100 mph on the radar gun once but also served up both home runs.

"He throws 95 to 100 miles per hour and looks like he's playing catch," said Smoak, who hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead. "You've got to go out looking for a fastball, and that's what we did as a team -- and we hit a couple out tonight."

Young allowed just one run off three hits without issuing a walk over eight innings. He didn't allow a runner past first base after the third inning.

Young was signed at the end of spring training to fill a spot in a rotation hobbled by injuries. The Mariners have already gotten Hisashi Iwakuma back from injury and have two other starters on the mend, but the 34-year-old Young is proving he's capable of doing more than just holding down a spot on the roster.

Since being saddled with no-decisions in each of his first four starts with the Mariners this season, the 6-foot-10 right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his past three starts.

"He's gotten better every time out," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "What he's doing is really remarkable."

Closer Fernando Rodney finished off the game with a scoreless ninth to earn his 11th save for the Mariners (19-17).

Kansas City (17-19) managed only four hits on a night when Ventura was solid but unspectacular. Ventura (2-2) gave up three earned runs off six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked four, the final one coming on a four-pitch at-bat that chased Ventura from the game with one out in the seventh.

"Good hits," Ventura said when asked about the two home runs.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas, in scoring the third-inning run, was the only Kansas City player to advance past first base.

"We couldn't pick the ball up on (Young)," manager Ned Yost said. "He's 6-10, with downhill action on his pitches, and with the deception we just didn't get good swings on him."

Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano had a pair of hits, while rookie center fielder James Jones made his debut in the leadoff role and went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.

Cano was also involved in one of the game's most controversial plays when he slid into second base on what was initially ruled a wild pitch in the seventh inning. Kansas City manager Ned Yost challenged the call, and replays showed that Kansas City second baseman Johnny Giavotella's foot had blocked Cano's foot from touching the base -- resulting in an overturned call and an inning-ending out.

One day after piling up 16 hits without a single one going for extra bases, the Royals got their first extra-base hit on a triple in Saturday's third inning. Moustakas hit a drive down the right-field line, resulting in a one-out triple after Mariners right fielder Michael Saunders made an awkward sliding attempt to corral the ball. Moustakas scored on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Alcides Escobar to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.

Saunders finished the inning but didn't return for the fourth, his day cut short by a hyperextended left knee. Stefen Romero came on to replace Saunders, who is listed as day-to-day.

Smoak gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, his fifth home run of the season. Ackley added a solo shot in the sixth.

"The credit goes to the hitters for giving me runs," Young said. "The defense was phenomenal. Total team contribution."

NOTES: Home plate umpire Scott Barry came out of the game after the third inning with an injury to his right hand. First base umpire Jeff Nelson replaced Barry, who went into the Seattle clubhouse with a Mariners trainer. ... Seattle 3B Kyle Seager (flu) was not in the lineup for the second day in a row. ... The Mariners' bullpen has a streak of 15 consecutive innings without allowing a run. ... Kansas City was without 2B Omar Infante (back) for the fifth game in a row. ... The Royals named LHP Danny Duffy as the probable starter for next Saturday's game against Baltimore. The decision means LHP Bruce Chen will likely need more time to rest his ailing back. ... The Mariners gave rookie CF James Jones his first start in the leadoff spot Saturday. ... Seattle 2B Robinson Cano extended his streak of reaching base to 19 games with his first-inning single.

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