(The Sports Xchange) - Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma again showed he was in a groove as he allowed just two runs in seven innings to help the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday.
Iwakuma, who had a no-hitter in his last outing against Baltimore, gave up just five hits in seven innings.
“I felt all right today,” Iwakuma said. “I tried to keep the ball down in the zone, make early contact. I was able to do that.”
Texas right fielder Choo Shin-Soo singled with one out in the bottom of the first to ensure Iwakuma would not get successive no-hitters, which may have actually helped the pitcher settle down.
“It’s hard to say,” Iwakuma said. “Maybe I was relieved. If I had gone more and more longer, maybe it would have become a different kind of burden. Who knows?”
The Mariners gave Iwakuma more than enough run support in the top of the first, scoring three times off Texas rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz lined an RBI double to left field before Seth Smith hit a two-run homer into the Texas bullpen in right-center.
The Rangers got a run off Iwakuma in the second inning on a solo homer by second baseman Rougned Odor, then trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by catcher Bobby Wilson.
“He (Iwakuma) was pitching everything down,” said Odor.
“He was throwing everything to us, fastball, changeup, split and slider.
“He did a good job. We tried to do everything we can, but it happens. We tried our best, but he did a good job.”
Iwakuma threw just 99 pitches but after starts in which he had thrown 118 and 116, manager Lloyd McClendon had seen enough.
“I thought Kuma was outstanding,” McClendon said.
“He made the pitches that he needed to make. He hit his spots. Our defense played good behind him. His pitch count wasn’t outrageous, but the Texas heat can get you.”
Gonzalez allowed just two hits after his rough first inning.
“I made two bad pitches and they hit them,” said Gonzalez.
“I stuck to it. I just continued to do what I did in the first inning (and) pounded the ball down in the zone and I had good results.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury