Mariners 5, Twins 3
John Jaso began thinking about it after the fourth inning.
Felix Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Mariners history
Wednesday, and Hisashi Iwakuma started Friday night by retiring 12
consecutive batters – enough to make Seattle’s designated hitter
wonder if something special was happening again.
”I did think about it, I can’t lie,” Jaso said.
Iwakuma didn’t end up perfect, but he did plenty by throwing
seven impressive innings and allowing no earned runs in Seattle’s
5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Justin Morneau’s double to open the fifth snapped a streak of 42
consecutive batters retired by Mariners pitching, the longest such
streak in the majors since 1974. The previous baserunner to reach
against Seattle was Tampa Bay’s Jeff Keppinger when he doubled
leading off the ninth inning Tuesday.
Matt Carson’s single scored Morneau and pulled Minnesota to 3-1,
snapping Seattle’s 21-inning scoreless streak. Tampa Bay got two
runs in the first on Tuesday, the last time the Mariners allowed
the opposition to cross the plate.
Iwakuma (4-3) ran into trouble in the fifth, but whiffed Pedro
Florimon and Darin Mastroianni with the bases loaded to preserve a
two-run lead. Iwakuma allowed four hits and struck out six.
”He did a great job in the fifth inning to leave the bases
loaded out there and let them score only one run,” Mariners
manager Eric Wedge said. ”That was a separator for us.”
The veteran of the 2004 Athens Olympics and a decade of pitching
as a pro in Japan has won three of his last four decisions. He is
3-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 41 strikeouts in eight starts.
”He’s consistently been better throughout the course of this
year,” Wedge said. ”You see more velocity, you see more on the
end of his pitches.”
Jaso and Miguel Olivo homered early off Minnesota starter Nick
Blackburn (4-9), who struggled again. He lasted 5 1-3 innings,
allowing five earned runs and 11 hits. He has lost five consecutive
decisions and has not won since June 22.
”Typical outing,” Blackburn said. ”I make a couple mistakes –
give up home runs. Make good pitches – give up hits.
”Just don’t know where to start.”
Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham hit back-to-back homers off
Stephen Pryor in the eighth for the Twins. Willingham has 47 home
runs since July 29, 2011, passing Josh Hamilton for the most in the
majors during that stretch.
But left-handed specialist Lucas Luetge came in to get Morneau
out and Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen earned his 17th save with a
A single by Dustin Ackley ended Blackburn’s night in the sixth
and put the Mariners up 5-1. Trayvon Robinson doubled to open the
inning and Eric Thames followed with a double down the right-field
line to score Robinson.
Olivo hit his ninth home run on the first pitch he saw from
Blackburn. Olivo is 12 for 24 with four home runs in his career
against the right-hander.
Lefties are hitting .376 this year against Blackburn, and Jaso
continued the trend with a two-run homer in the first. His eighth
of the year drove in Michael Saunders, who singled to snap an
0-for-17 streak. Jaso reached base three times.
Mauer hit his eighth homer of the year when he drove a slider
from the hard-throwing Pryor to center field in the eighth.
Willingham followed with his 31st when he smashed a 98 mph fastball
into the Seattle bullpen to cut the lead to 5-3. It was the third
time this season the Twins have hit back-to-back home runs.
”Offensively, we didn’t do much,” Minnesota manager Ron
NOTES: The Mariners activated left-handed reliever Charlie
Furbush from the disabled list and optioned reliever Shawn Kelley
to Triple-A Tacoma. Furbush had been sidelined since July 18 with a
strained left triceps. Wedge said Kelley was sent down because he
had options remaining and the Mariners wanted to look at their
young relievers. … Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe singled in the
seventh to stop an 0-for-20 slide.