Maurer makes MLB debut in finale with A's

Brandon Maurer makes his major league debut on Thursday when the Seattle Mariners conclude a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum.

Maurer, the Southern League Pitcher of the Year last season, went 9-2 with a 3.20 earned-run average in 24 starts for Double-A Jackson a year ago. He also struck out 117 batters in 134-2/3 innings.

This spring, he went 3-1 with an ERA of 0.90 in six outings while striking out 22 batters in 20 innings.

"He came in here and he took it," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of Maurer. "He had a great camp. You're talking about a young man that has multiple plus- pitches. And the way it worked out, he faced a lot of big-league lineups."

Maurer can only hope his initial season goes as well as Oakland righty A.J. Griffin's did a year ago. Griffin was 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 starts, tossing at least six innings in nine of them.

Even more impressive was the fact that Griffin was 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts against AL West competition.

Oakland got off the schneid Wednesday, as Jed Lowrie had a solo homer and three RBI among his three hits in the A's 6-2 win.

Chris Young, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in an offseason trade, made his first start of the season and smacked a solo shot for Oakland, which avoided its first 0-3 start since 1995.

Last year's AL West champs registered 11 hits after tallying just a run and six hits over their first two contests.

Tommy Milone (1-0) struck out four and surrendered two runs on four hits and a walk over seven frames to pick up the win.

"He doesn't let too much get to him. He just concentrates on where he's throwing that particular pitch and doesn't get too far ahead of himself," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Milone.

Joe Saunders (0-1) allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks in just four innings for the Mariners, who got solo homers from Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Morse.

"(Saunders) just didn't have the command of the secondary stuff he typically has," Wedge said.

Oakland won 12 of its 19 matchups with the Mariners last season.