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BAL@SEA: Young fans eight over seven scoreless frames

Mariners right-hander Chris Young continues his outstanding comeback season as he goes for his 10th win of the season in Thursday's series finale with the Indians.

After not pitching in the Majors last year due to shoulder issues, Young has gone 9-6 with a 3.04 ERA. He ranks 10th in the American League in ERA and is fourth in opponents' batting average (.212) after finally getting fully healthy for the first time since his All-Star season with the Padres in 2007.

The 35-year-old is 62-49 in 10 Major League seasons, but hasn't won more than nine games in a season since going 11-5 with San Diego in 2006. Shoulder problems set in after '07, and his 21 games (20 starts) and 124 1/3 innings this year are already the most he's had in a season since then.

"I think he's getting stronger," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We've been very conscious watching his pitch count and giving him the sixth day whenever we have the opportunity and I think it's paying off."

Young is 6-4 with a 2.70 ERA over his last 12 starts and is coming off seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball against the Orioles, who became the latest team to be reminded of the unique effectiveness of the former Princeton basketball player.

Young is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts against the Indians, one coming in 2005 and the other in Seattle this June when he allowed one run on four hits over five innings.

The Indians will counter Young with fellow righty Zach McAllister, who is starting for the fourth time since rejoining the Tribe's rotation just before the All-Star break. Those first two outings went well for the 26-year-old, as he combined for a 2.92 ERA and an opposing batting average of .250. But, in his last start, the Royals scored six runs -- five earned -- of McAllister in four frames, and he allowed eight hits as well as two walks.

"My last two outings here, I had a really good mix," McAllister said. "[Against the Royals], I didn't do that. I think that's something I have to realize -- whether it's out there or in the dugout, whenever it is -- I have to mix my pitches up."

Indians: Rotation gets younger after Masterson deal
Hours after the Indians dealt sinkerballer Justin Masterson to the Cardinals, Corey Kluber took the mound at Progressive Field. And he did so as the elder statesman in Cleveland's rotation.

Kluber, 28, is the oldest remaining starter in the Indians' rotation, joined by Trevor Bauer (23), Danny Salazar (24) and McAllister (26). It's likely either T.J. House (24) or Josh Tomlin (29) will fill the void left by Masterson, or manager Terry Francona could opt to go with a six-man rotation.

Either way, the Indians will have a young rotation the rest of 2014. Kluber -- who threw a three-hit shutout Wednesday against the Mariners -- is also the only remaining Indians starter who has consistently proven himself at a Major League level, but the rest of the rotation will certainly get a chance.

"We've been encouraged by some of the developmental progress and strides of some of the younger guys," general manager Chris Antonetti said. "But we obviously need them to continue to grow, continue to get better and perform more consistently in the second half."

Mariners: Ackley sticking in leadoff role for now
Dustin Ackley was back in the leadoff spot for a second straight game on Wednesday, and McClendon sounded inclined to give his left fielder a longer look there after his initial success in Tuesday's series-opening 5-2 win.

Ackley didn't have a great follow-up to his 3-for-4, two-RBI Tuesday performance, going 0-for-4 Wednesday, but McClendon said he'd be "hard pressed" to remove him from the No. 1 hole in the order. Ackley has been on a hot streak at the plate in July and McClendon feels he could eventually be a bigger threat on the basepaths as well.

"I think he's more than capable of stealing bases," he said. "That's just something he's got to get comfortable with though and I'm not sure he's quite where he needs to be with that quite yet. Being able to read pitchers gives you that confidence and comfortablity and right now he's just not there. There is an art to it. There's a lot of factors that play into it and we're trying to help him and speed up that process a little. But the only way you learn in this game sometimes is through failure."

Worth noting
• Mariners rookie James Paxton threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and appears poised to rejoin the rotation on Saturday in Baltimore. Paxton made his third rehab start on Sunday and says he's fully recovered finally from a strained lat muscle that has sidelined him since his second outing of the season on April 8. Paxton is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in six career starts.

• The Indians' 2-0 win on Wednesday pushed their July record to 14-11, and a win on Thursday would match their winningest month of the season. The Tribe was 15-13 in May.

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