KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Dustin Ackley delivered the clutch hit, while Chris Young baffled the Kansas City Royals batters.
Ackley drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out ninth inning single as the Seattle Mariners beat the Royals 2-1 on Saturday.
His single to right on a 2-2 count scored Kyle Seager, who doubled with two outs to start the game-winning rally. Seager moved to third on Stefen Romero’s infield single before Ackley’s hit. Ackley is 5-for-10 off Jason Vargas (7-3), who took the loss.
“It was basically a battling at-bat,” Ackley said. “I got behind early and I know he’s a guy who will throw any pitch in any count. I fouled a couple of pitches off and fortunately I was able to get the barrel on it and get it into the outfield.”
Vargas said he jammed Ackley with a fastball.
“He was just able to get it over the infield,” Vargas said.
The Mariners are only 7-12 in one-run games, while the Royals have dropped three in a row, all one-run decisions.
“If you want to have a good winning season, you have to win games like this,” Ackley said.
After retiring the first dozen Royals, Young yielded a home run to Alex Gordon to leadoff the fifth to tie the score at 1.
“I made a mistake,” Young said. “He can hit it out, but I can live with it because it’s a solo homer.”
Young gave up back-to-back singles to Salvador Perez and Justin Maxwell after Gordon’s team-leading ninth home run. Perez, however, was out trying to stretch his into a double.
“He’s really tough to pick the ball up,” said Eric Hosmer, who went 0-for-4. “He’s throwing 84-85 miles per hour, but he has such a long arm and his release point is so close to you that’s it really hard to pick up. He’s been real consistent for those guys.”
The Mariners bunched three hits leading off the third with Cole Gillespie’s single to center scoring Brad Miller, who began the inning with a bunt single and stopped at second on James Jones’ single.
Young, a 35-year-old right-hander who has had three shoulder surgeries including one last June, did not did not sign with the Mariners until March 27 after the Washington Nationals released him in spring training. He was pulled after seven innings, allowing only the run on Gordon’s blast and three hits.
“He’s an amazing story,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “His fastball is 85 to 88 (mph) and is straight, but nobody sees it. There is an amount of deception the hitters tell you. They’re on it and they’re not.”
Yoervis Medina (4-1) replaced Young and worked a flawless eighth, striking out two to pick up the victory. He has not allowed a run and only three hits in his past 10 outings, covering 10 1/3 innings.
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities, getting Hosmer to ground into a game ending double play.
“Chris pitched extremely well,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He just had the one fastball that came back over the middle of the plate to Gordon. He probably got a little bit tired with the heat, but the bullpen did a good job.”
Vargas gave up 10 hits and two runs in 8 2/3 innings, losing for the first time since May 19. Yost came out to the mound after Seager’s double, but left him in.
“He just asked me if I could get him, and I said, `Yeah.’ There wasn’t a whole lot more than that,” Vargas said. “I felt great in the ninth inning. Just a little bit of bad luck got us and I think we all know what happened after that.”