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Stefen Romero hits first major league home run to help Mariners take series opener at Oakland

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OAKLAND, Calif. - With the wind, Stefen Romero thought his deep fly might not have enough and he would be denied his first major league home run. He put his head down and took off running anyway.

Romero hit it hard enough to clear the left field fence for a tiebreaking solo shot in the fifth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Monday night for their third straight victory and eighth in 10 games.

Romero is taking home a souvenir ball, and the gratification he knew why his teammates were giving him the silent treatment afterward.

"I tried to play it off a little bit and went all the way to the end of the dugout and took off my batting glove, put my bat away and tried to beeline to the edge of the dugout so they wouldn't rush me," Romero said. "Then (Robinson) Cano gets a base hit. After the base hit, that's when they all just lost it and congratulated me."

Chris Young (2-0) allowed two hits over six strong innings to win his second straight start. He began the year with four straight no-decisions as he came back from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss much of 2013.

The right-hander faced the minimum through three and didn't allow a hit until Jed Lowrie's one-out single in the fourth. Brandon Moss hit a tying two-run homer two batters later.

"He's 6-foot-10 and he's throwing out of the sky," Moss said of Young. "It looks like he's throwing soft and the radar gun says he's throwing soft, but the way he pitches up and down, it makes it tough."

Romero, a 25-year-old rookie, homered in his 53rd career at-bat. He is batting .306 over his last nine games.

"Fortunately it got out," Romero said of the wind. "Just not having done it this year, it's pretty sweet to get that one out of the way."

Moss hit his drive to right to give the A's brief momentum only to see Romero connect in the top of the fifth for a Seattle lead. Brad Miller added an RBI single in the sixth.

Scott Kazmir (4-1), off to the best start in his career, was tagged for eight hits and four runs in six innings.

"He had his way with us for two outings in a row," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I thought our guys were probably a little bit more determined tonight, better at-bats, better approach. We were able to get his pitch count up a little bit."

The A's were without two key outfielders and hitters to begin the game with the injured Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick out of the starting lineup. Cespedes entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in the game.

Oakland did little else after Moss' big hit and kicked off a 10-game homestand — the club's first of three such stints at the Coliseum this season — with just its third loss in seven matchups against Seattle so far.

Young won back-to-back starts for the first time since May 19 and 24, 2009, for the Padres. He also improved to 14-6 in 29 career May starts. His April 6 outing at Oakland was his first in the majors since Sept. 29, 2012, with the New York Mets.

"Stuff-wise, I'm not there. I don't know if I'll ever be. I've had three shoulder operations," Young said. "The shoulder feels healthy. I feel like when I've been healthy in my career I've pitched pretty well."

Fernando Rodney, Seattle's fifth reliever on a night the bullpen was thin, finished for his eighth save in nine opportunities as Seattle earned its first three-game winning streak since sweeping a season-opening series at the Angels.

NOTES: McClendon expected to name his second starter for Wednesday's doubleheader on Tuesday. Felix Hernandez will start one of the games. The teams must make up a game from April 4, when Oakland didn't use a tarp through a heavy rainstorm and the field was unplayable. ... Oakland RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.91 ERA) earned AL Pitcher of the Month honours for April. ... A's RF Reddick could miss another day as he nurses a sprained ankle suffered Sunday in Boston. ... Mariners OF Logan Morrison, sidelined since April 16 with a strained right hamstring, is recovering more slowly than expected. Even McClendon is surprised. "I have been. There's no sense in arguing about it," he said. "When I get him I get him. Until then I'll just read his tweets."

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