Kevin Correia hasn’t had many clunkers during his first season with the Minnesota Twins. In fact, he had given up more than four runs just once in his first 19 starts.
Perhaps he was due, then, for the type of outing he had Thursday in Seattle. Correia lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on seven hits as Minnesota fell 8-2 to the Mariners in the series opener at Safeco Field.
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It was Correia’s shortest start since June 6, 2010 when he also lasted just 1 2/3 innings while pitching for the San Diego Padres against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“A bad start to the ball game for us, the first time we’ve seen Correia have a hard time,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He just couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to.”
After a scoreless first inning, Correia couldn’t get out of what turned out to be a disastrous second inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Kyle Seager and followed it up with a single by Justin Smoak. After retiring Michael Saunders on a groundout, Correia served up back-to-back RBI singles to Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley as Minnesota fell behind 2-0 early.
Things would only get worse for Correia in the second. Brad Miller doubled to center field to score Zunino and advance Ackley to third. One batter later, three runs scored on a Nick Franklin home run, his eighth of the year. It was the 19th home run allowed by Correia this season, the most among all Twins pitchers.
Correia stayed in to face two more Mariners batters. Raul Ibanez popped out for the second out, but Correia gave up another hit — a two-out Kendrys Morales double — before Gardenhire came to the mound to take him out. Right-hander Ryan Pressly relieved Correia, who was done after just 1 2/3 innings.
With Thursday’s clunker, Correia dropped to 7-7 on the year as his ERA rose to 4.56 thanks to the six-run second inning.
“Just a bad inning from him. We haven’t seen that from him,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been really, really good for us.”
Iwakuma continues to baffle Twins: Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma made his fourth career start against Minnesota on Thursday. He had already faced the Twins once earlier this year at Target Field, and had yet to give up a run against Minnesota in his previous three outings.
That trend continued Thursday, as the Twins once again failed to scratch across a run against the Mariners right-hander. Iwakuma pitched six scoreless innings, struck out nine Minnesota batters and allowed just four hits — all singles.
“You get a lead like that and guys like that know what to do with it,” Gardenhire said of Iwakuma. “He’s going to pound the strike zone in and out. I thought we made him throw some pitches. We took some pitches. … He also knows how to put people away and he can make pitches to get out of innings.”
In his four career starts against the Twins, Iwakuma has given up just 16 hits with 24 strikeouts. And, of course, zero runs.
Earlier this year, Iwakuma blanked Minnesota for 7 2/3 innings at Target Field. He struck out five batters and walked two in that game, a 3-0 Mariners victory.
Iwakuma has been good against plenty of teams besides the Twins, although he has had their number over the last two years. Thursday’s win improved his record to 10-4 ad he lowered his season ERA to 2.87.
“He’s a very competitive guy,” said Mariners veteran catcher Henry Blanco, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Zunino. “Every time he goes on the mound, you expect him to do his best. That’s what he showed tonight.”
FOX Sports North’s Jamie Hersch contributed to this report.