Mariners 4, Angels 3

Hisashi Iwakuma kept his pitches down and the ball in the

ballpark. Most of the time.

Iwakuma (8-4) allowed a solo home run to Mark Trumbo, but kept

the Angels to three runs over seven innings as Seattle completed

its first sweep of the season by beating the Los Angeles Angels 4-3

Sunday.

It was an improvement on a lousy month by the Mariners All-Star,

who had allowed at least four runs in each of his previous five

starts and 10 home runs over his last four outings.

”He was good. Just a couple bad misses but he was downhill

better. He executed pitches better,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge

said.

Following his previous outing – his shortest of the season

allowing six runs in three innings against Boston – Iwakuma noted

some minor mechanical adjustments he needed to fix to get back on

track. Against the Angels, Iwakuma had a better feel for his

fastball and was able to mix in his breaking pitches more

effectively.

He struck out seven for his first win since June 10.

”Today, overall, I thought I had a better fastball. I had more

life with my fastball,” Iwakuma said through a translator. ”I was

able to make an adjustment. I gave up one home run but then overall

I thought I had better command than I did the last couple of

starts.”

The day didn’t go nearly as well for Angels starter Joe

Blanton.

Blanton (2-12) left the game after allowing the first three

runners to reach base in the fifth inning. His four innings pitched

was the shortest outing of an already tumultuous season and Blanton

appeared to snap in the dugout after coming off the mound in the

fourth. Blanton attacked a water cooler and threw it to the ground

and appeared to engage in a verbal altercation with catcher Chris

Iannetta.

Iannetta called it ”a miscommunication” but wouldn’t elaborate

on the incident. Blanton was also mum on specifics but chalked it

up to frustration.

”Any time things aren’t going good it kind of brings things to

a little volcano, a little head, whatever you want to call it,”

Blanton said.

”Things aren’t going well. You try and do more out there

competing with everything. Things happen. Guys get mad at giving up

runs, striking out. It’s part of it sometimes.”

Michael Saunders hit a two-run homer and Raul Ibanez had an RBI

double as the Mariners topped Los Angeles for the third straight

day.

The Mariners have now homered in 22 consecutive games, the

longest streak in the majors since Atlanta’s 23-game run in 2006.

Seattle’s string is the best by an AL club since Texas set the big

league record with 27 in 2002.

Seattle’s long-dormant offense has come alive in recent weeks.

They currently lead the majors for home runs in July and are second

in batting average and runs scored for the month.

”We’re doing our jobs. We’re getting runners in from third

base. We’re moving runners over.” Saunders said. The biggest thing

that was lacking was we were taking our walks, we were getting into

scoring position but we were missing the two-out hits or the ball

in the gap and that’s what we’re starting to do. We’re driving the

ball more.”

Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 19th save

of the season.

Saunders connected in the second off Joe Blanton (2-12) after

Justin Smoak singled. Kyle Seager singled and Smoak walked to lead

off the fourth, and a sacrifice fly by Mike Zunino made it 3-0.

Trumbo hit his 21st homer in fifth to put the Angels on the

board.

Brad Miller singled, Nick Franklin walked and Ibanez doubled to

open the fifth and chase Blanton from the game. Michael Kohn

entered and struck out the side to limit the damage for the

Angels

Los Angeles rallied in the sixth. Alberto Callaspo hit a two-out

single with the bases loaded to score Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick

as the Angels pulled within a run.

NOTES: Mariners RHP Stephen Pryor will begin a rehab assignment

with Single-A Everett either Monday or Tuesday of this week. He has

been on the disabled list since April 15 with a torn back muscle.

… Blanton leads the league in losses (12), hits allowed (148) and

home runs allowed (23). … Mariners 3B Kyle Seager extended his

hitting streak to 14 games. Since June 30 Seager is batting .442

with two doubles, five home runs, 10 RBI, eight walks and 16 runs

scored. … Angels CF Mike Trout extended his hitting streak to 10

games. He’s batting .417 with four doubles, two triples, two home

runs, six RBI, five walks and eight runs scored since July 3. …

Angels 2B Alberto Callaspo extended his hitting streak to nine

games. … Iwakuma is not expected to pitch in the All-Star game

Tuesday.