Iwakuma follows no-no by dominating Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma didn't duplicate his no-hit feat from last Wednesday, but he did continue his recent domination of the Rangers. Iwakuma held Texas to two runs in seven innings as the Mariners held on for a 3-2 victory Tuesday night at Global Life Park.
"I thought Kuma was outstanding," Seattle skipper Lloyd McClendon said. "He made the pitches he needed to make, hit his spots, our defense played good behind him."
Iwakuma (5-2) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six. He is 6-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his past seven starts against the Rangers. He has beaten them twice in less than two weeks this month alone.
"Iwakuma was as solid as we have seen him," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We didn't mount much of a challenge to him."
The loss snapped the Rangers' five-game winning streak. They also had an eight-game home winning streak come to an end after Chi Chi Gonzalez gave up three runs in the top of the first before Iwakuma had a chance to throw a pitch. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Smith gets things going: Mariners right fielder Seth Smith had hit just .133 in the first 12 games of August and doesn't figure to see much playing time the rest of the week with Seattle facing lefty starters its next four games. But the left-handed platoon hitter came through with a two-run homer in the first as the Mariners jumped to a 3-0 lead on Gonzalez. Smith's 10th homer drove in Nelson Cruz, who'd got Seattle on the board with an RBI double.
Choo ends no-hitter suspense: Any suspense about a second straight no-hit bid by Iwakuma evaporated quickly when Shin-Soo Choo singled with one out in the first. The last hit given up by Iwakuma was a sixth-inning single by Josh Hamilton against the Rangers on Aug. 7. Iwakuma also had a 13-inning scoreless streak end when Rougned Odor hit a home run with one out in the second. But Iwakuma also retired 13 straight batters after a two-out single by Wilson in the second.
Where is Hamilton? Hamilton is supposed to be available off the bench for the Rangers, but manager Jeff Banister didn't use him in the seventh. Trailing 3-1, Texas had runners at the corners with one out in the seventh when Bobby Wilson, the No. 9 hitter, came up against Iwakuma. Hamilton did not move off the bench. Neither did Mike Napoli. Wilson delivered a sacrifice fly to make it a one-run game.
Asked about using one of his big guns there, Banister said, "Not tonight ... no."
Bullpen bullies: The Mariners' relievers have struggled badly on this road trip after being overtaxed in the Red Sox series when the starters lasted just nine innings combined in three games where Seattle allowed 45 runs. Then Fernando Rodney coughed up the winning run in Monday's walkoff loss to the Rangers. But after Iwakuma turned a 3-2 lead over to the 'pen, Danny Farquhar pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and rookie closer Carson Smith retired the heart of the Rangers' order to record his 13th save.
"After an outing like Sunday, any successful outing is nice," said Smith, who suffered his third blown save when he gave up two runs in the ninth at Fenway Park in a game the Mariners came back to win in 12 innings. "It was a struggle Sunday, and that's something I've got to learn and get better from, and I felt like today I did that."
"When your starter goes out and gives you seven, you can match up and do things you want to do. And the bullpen looked good tonight. Carson made some quality pitches when he had to. And that was the Farquhar of old. Where has he been? It was nice to see." -- McClendon, on his relievers
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Iwakuma last week became the fourth individual Mariners pitcher to throw a no-hitter (the club also had one combined no-hitter). And like the previous three individuals -- Randy Johnson, Chris Bosio and Felix Hernandez -- Iwakuma then gave up a base hit in the first inning of his next start, with Choo quickly ending the drama in this one.
Mariners: Rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-5, 4.14) starts Wednesday's 11:05 a.m. PT rubber game in Arlington as the Mariners close out their six-game road trek. Montgomery is 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA over his past seven starts and gave up 10 hits and nine runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last outing in Boston.
Rangers: Lefty Derek Holland will make his first start since April 10 when he pitches against the Mariners at 1:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Holland has been sidelined with a strained muscle in his left shoulder. He is 9-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 14 games and four relief appearances against the Mariners in his career.
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