Mariners-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners haven't been productive offensively in their last two games, though they might not need much scoring to get back on track with surprising Chris Young on the mound.

As Young looks to win a career-best fourth straight start, the Mariners hope to move past a sluggish homestand with their eighth win in 10 road games Friday night against the Minnesota Twins.

Since a nine-game stretch in which it averaged 6.1 runs while hitting .326 with runners in scoring position, Seattle (20-20) has totaled 25 runs and batted .200 in those key spots over its last eight.

The Mariners had one run and eight hits over the final two games of a home series loss to Tampa Bay, capped by a two-hit effort in Wednesday's 2-0 defeat. Brad Miller (1 for 23), Kyle Seager (3 for 16), Justin Smoak (4 for 26) and Stefen Romero (4 for 24) were among those who struggled during the 3-4 homestand.

The Mariners will now try to play as well as they did on their last road swing as they begin a five-game trip. From April 29-May 7, they went 7-2 with stops at Yankee Stadium, Houston and Oakland.

Young (3-0, 2.63 ERA), who agreed to a one-year contract near the end of spring training, won two of those contests before limiting Kansas City to one run and three hits over eight innings in Saturday's 3-1 victory.

It was the first time the 6-foot-10 right-hander threw at least eight innings since tossing a complete game for San Diego in 2008. Following injury-riddled seasons from 2009-2012, he missed all of 2013 after having surgery to address a nerve ailment that affects his shoulder.

''I've said all along, he's a veteran guy that knows what he's doing, what he wants to do,'' manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''When he's capable of executing his pitches, he's pretty tough. He's gotten better every time out."

Young hasn't factored in a decision while posting a 2.41 ERA in four starts against the Twins (19-20), but he hasn't faced them since 2005 while with Texas.

Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki finished with three hits each, while Aaron Hicks delivered the game-winning single in the 10th inning Thursday to give the Twins their fourth victory in five home games, 4-3 over Boston.

''It's such a big hit in a big situation,'' said Hicks, who entered the game hitting .167. ''It just comes down to how much heart you have in the game."

Minnesota is swinging the bats well, totaling 20 runs while batting .313 in its last four games. Suzuki has gone 10 for 23 over his last five, but is 0 for 14 in his last six meetings with Seattle.

Since winning his first three starts, Minnesota's Kyle Gibson has gone 0-3 with an 8.68 ERA over his last four. He'll try to bounce back after surrendering six runs over two innings in Saturday's 9-3 loss at Detroit.

In his only start against Seattle, the right-hander gave up five runs over five innings of a 6-4 road loss July 28.

Gibson (3-3, 4.74) will try to cool off Robinson Cano, who is hitting .337 while reaching base in 23 consecutive games - the majors' second-longest active streak.

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