ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) With a chance at history out of the way early, Hisashi Iwakuma settled in and continued his recent mastery of the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Iwakuma (5-2) followed his no-hitter by limiting the Rangers to two runs and five hits over seven innings as the Seattle Mariners won 3-2. He gave up a hit to Texas’ second batter, a single by Shin-Soo Choo. He retired 12 straight at one point and struck out six while walking one.
Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki there might have been some relief in giving up a hit early.
”It’s hard to say,” said Iwakuma, who has 150 career wins between the Japanese leagues and the major leagues. ”If I had gone more and more longer, maybe it would have become a different kind of burden.”
Cincinnati left-hander Johnny Vander Meer in 1938 is still the only pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters.
All four times a Mariner has thrown a no-hitter, he has allowed a hit in the first inning of his next start. The right-hander no-hit Baltimore 3-0 in Seattle last Wednesday.
Iwakuma is 6-0 in his last seven starts against Texas. One of the hits off him was Rougned Odor’s ninth homer of the year.
All of Seattle’s scoring came in the first inning on three extra-base hits, including Seth Smith’s 10th home run of the season.
Carson Smith worked a perfect ninth to earn his 13th save in 16 attempts since becoming Seattle’s closer in early June. It followed his third blown save last Sunday, at Boston.
While Smith retired all three batters that he faced, manager Lloyd McClendon visited the mound with two outs and a 2-0 count on Mitch Moreland, who is tied for the Rangers’ lead with 17 home runs.
Asked what he told his closer, McClendon said, ”I don’t talk about what I tell pitchers.”
Smith’s version of the seemingly one-sided conversation: ”We were just talking about pitch selection at that point. He insisted I throw a sinker away, so I agreed to that.”
Smith got the count to 3-2 before Moreland grounded to first.
Iwakuma came into the game having thrown 118 and 116 pitches in his two previous starts. McClendon pulled him after 99.
”His pitch count wasn’t outrageous, but that Texas heat can get to you,” McClendon said.
The final out in the Texas seventh came on a pitchout on which Jesus Sucre nabbed Odor, representing the tying run, trying to steal second.
”That was a great play,” Iwakuma said. ”The game was on the line there. `Succy’ made a great throw.”
Nelson Cruz extended his streak of reaching base to 29 consecutive games. It’s the longest in the American League this season and the longest of his career. Kyle Seager went 2 for 3 to improve his career batting average at Globe Life Park to .346.
LHP James Paxton, out since May with a strained middle finger on his pitching hand, threw 30 pitches in a simulated game. ”I feel like I’m ready for a rehab,” Paxton said. McClendon said the staff will see how Paxton feels Wednesday before making a decision.
Mariners: LHP Charlie Furbush was scheduled to see a doctor Tuesday in Seattle. Furbush experienced biceps discomfort last Saturday in the bullpen in Boston and was sent home.
Rangers: Manager Jeff Banister said he hopes C Robinson Chirinos (left shoulder strain) can begin a rehab assignment next week.
Mariners: LHP Mike Montgomery (4-5) allowed nine runs and two homers in only 2 1-3 innings last Friday at Boston. He hasn’t won in his last seven starts.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland will make his first appearance after throwing only nine pitches on April 10 before being sidelined with a torn muscle behind his throwing shoulder.