Mariners-Astros Preview

When the Seattle Mariners signed Chris Young just before the season to fill a hole at the bottom of their rotation, they couldn’t have expected the veteran coming off multiple shoulder operations to pitch this well.

Backed by a resurgent offense led by James Jones and Robinson Cano, Young takes the mound Wednesday night looking to help Seattle complete a three-game road sweep of the Houston Astros.

Young (7-4, 3.15 ERA) missed all of 2012 after having surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome and signed a one-year deal with the Mariners on March 27 after being released in spring training by Washington.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander has exceeded expectations and has been especially solid over his last three starts, going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA. He gave up one run and four hits while striking out four through five innings of Friday’s 3-2 win over Cleveland.

Young, who hasn’t pitched a full season since 2007, has thrown more than 100 pitches in five of his 15 starts. Seattle’s bullpen, which ranks first in the AL with a 2.56 ERA, has been solid behind Young after his shorter outings.

"The bullpen came in and did a phenomenal job and the guys picked me up," Young said.

He had one of his longer outings of the season against the Astros on April 23, allowing three runs and four hits in seven innings of the Mariners’ 5-3 home win.

Young is just 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in seven road starts, but Seattle (46-38) will be going for its first six-game road winning streak since April 2011 after convincingly taking the first two in this series.

Jones went 4 for 5 in Monday’s 10-4 victory, then finished 3 for 6 with a pair of RBIs as the Mariners set a season high in runs and hits with 18 in Tuesday’s 13-2 win.

The rookie outfielder went 3 for 22 in his previous seven games.

”I was telling Howard (Johnson), the hitting coach: `We’ve been winning games and he’s not getting on base,”’ Cano said of Jones. ”Watch how many runs we’re going to score when he starts getting on base.’ And look what happened the last two days.”

Cano also has been hot for the Mariners, who have won nine of 11. Cano had an RBI single and a two-run double Tuesday before being lifted in the seventh inning for a pinch hitter. He’s 6 for 13 with two homers and eight RBIs over his last three.

Jose Altuve has been on impressive run for Houston (36-49), going 13 for 24 over his last six after registering his MLB-best 36th multihit game Tuesday. He’s second in the NL with a .347 average.

The Astros’ pitching has been a different story in this series, and they’ll hand the ball to Brad Peacock as they look to avoid the sweep.

Peacock (2-4, 4.21) lowered his ERA to 3.71 in 11 outings since joining the rotation after allowing two runs – one earned – in 6 2-3 innings of Houston’s 4-3, 11-inning win over Detroit on Friday.

The right-hander has no record with a 2.16 ERA over his last three outings, though he has struggled with his control at times. He’s walked nine over 16 2-3 innings in that stretch and holds an average of 4.95 walks per nine innings.

Peacock issued three free passes while giving up four runs through six innings of Houston’s 5-4, 11-inning win over Seattle on May 2. He’s 2-2 with a 6.92 ERA in five career starts against the Mariners.