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SEA@LAA: Young strikes out seven in quality start

Chris Young has deserved a better fate.

The Seattle right-hander has a 3.79 ERA in his last three starts and is 0-2 to show for it -- a victim of a ninth-inning Angels rally off Fernando Rodney in his previous outing.

Young took a no-decision in that start, striking out seven and allowing three runs in six innings.

"That was a very gutty performance," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He didn't have his best stuff, but he hung in there and gave us a chance to win."

The tide could turn for Young as he faces the Orioles at Safeco Field on Saturday. He has been dominant in his new home this year, going 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA and holding opponents to a .188 batting average.

The 35-year-old is 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA overall in his first year with the Mariners. He signed with the team late in Spring Training after being released by the Nationals. Last year, he didn't pitch in the Major Leagues after undergoing surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

The Orioles will counter with right-hander Bud Norris, who, like Young, faced the Angels his last time out.

Norris dominated, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings for a win. He moved to 8-6 on the season with a 3.78 ERA.

"You have to step up to the challenge sometimes," Norris said of shutting down an Angels team that entered that game as the top-scoring team in the Majors. "That's a great lineup over there. They've been swinging the bats extremely well. They've got the second-best record in baseball. I've pitched pretty good [here] a couple times. So I just wanted to get back out there and pitch. Nothing happens until you get out there."

Norris is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners; Young is 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA in three starts against the Orioles.

Orioles: Machado close to returning
Third baseman Manny Machado was not in Friday's lineup for the fourth consecutive game, but the Orioles third baseman had improved enough to be an available bench player, and he was in the lineup on Saturday -- as his manager predicted.

"I could use him if I had to," manager Buck Showalter said of Machado, who has been sidelined with back spasms. "With the day game [Saturday] and the quick turnaround, he's a lot better. He's very close ... I think you will see him start Saturday or Sunday."

"The pain is getting less and less every day. We are just trying to be pain free before I get out there," Machado said. "Also, we are trying to not get in a situation we don't want to be in, which is go out there and get hurt again, which would push us back further along."

Morales happy to be back
Meeting with the media on Friday for the first time since being traded, Kendrys Morales admitted that he was caught off-guard when the Twins sent him to the Mariners for Minor League reliever Stephen Pryor.

"When I signed, I expected to be with [Minnesota] for the whole season," Morales said through translator Fernando Alcala. "The team was in contention. But as time went along the Twins started falling back in the race and that's what happened."

Morales, 31, spent 2013 with Seattle and led the club in batting average (.277) and RBIs (80), but in the offseason he rejected the team's one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer. The Cuban designated hitter then sat out Spring Training and the first two months of the season before the Twins signed him to a prorated contract worth about $7.1 million on June 8.

In 39 games with Minnesota, Morales batted .234 with one home run and 18 RBIs.

Morales hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the sixth inning of Friday night's game.

The Mariners will pay the remaining $4.5 million on the switch-hitter's contract.

Worth noting:
• The Mariners pitching staff began Friday with a Major League-low 1.145 WHIP. If the season ended Friday, that would've been the lowest mark since the Los Angeles Dodgers posted a 1.132 WHIP in 1975.

• Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (right ankle) threw a 44-pitch simulated game at Safeco Field on Friday and likely make two rehab starts before returning with the Major League club. Comments