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Iwakuma Pitches Mariners To Win Over Rangers

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[May 21, 2014]  ARLINGTON, Texas - Teams of the American League West probably won't feel any better knowing Hisashi Iwakuma believes he can be even better than he was in his last three starts.

The Seattle Mariners right-hander held the floundering Texas Rangers to two runs over eight innings in the Mariners' 6-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Iwakuma, who started the season on the disabled list with a torn tendon in his right middle finger, gave up six hits and walked one, improving his record to 3-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.76 in four starts in 2014.

Since last July, Iwakuma is 6-0 in his last seven starts against the AL West with an ERA of 2.93. Five of those victories have come on the road.

Five Mariners hitters had RBIs in Seattle's 12-hit attack, including third baseman Kyle Seager, who was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

Iwakuma has allowed only two runs over 24 innings over his last three starts and only one walk with 15 strikeouts, including three against the Rangers. He threw only 99 pitches.

"I'm not there yet," said Iwakuma. "I just want to go out and do my part. I felt like I did that. Hopefully, it gets better."

Second baseman Robinson Cano, designated hitter Nick Franklin and left fielder Dustin Ackley all had two hits and a run batted in for the Mariners.

Texas right-hander Colby Lewis (3-3) took the loss, giving up five runs on nine hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out three in losing for the second time in his last three outings.

Making it through six innings appeared to be a long shot after the Mariners sent eight hitters to the plate in the third, scoring four runs on four hits and a walk. Seattle sent seven more to the plate the next inning, but Lewis battled, holding the Mariners to one run after hitting catcher Mike Zunino to open the inning.

"In some situations I thought he made some good pitches," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He battled. He kept attacking. We couldn't put anything on the board to support him."

Third baseman Adrian Beltre had a home run and right fielder Alex Rios added a run-scoring single for the Rangers (21-24), who have lost seven of their last nine games. Texas left only three on base. Seattle left nine on.

Seattle, which entered having lost five of its last six, improved to 22-22.

Texas never threatened after scoring in the fourth. Iwakuma set down 12 of the last 14 batters he faced, even though, in the estimation of Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon, he began to "lose" it in the seventh.

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"Same Iwakuma," Washington said. "Sinking the ball, cutting the ball, hitting his spots, changing speeds, working fast. That's what he does."

Seattle answered a 1-0 deficit by scoring four runs on four hits and a walk in the third off Lewis. Right fielder Michael Saunders and Franklin each drove in a run with a base hit and sacrifice fly, and Seager scored two with a bloop single to left just over the outstretched glove of Beltre.

The Mariners added a run in the fourth. Zunino, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, scored on Cano's second hit of the game.

"We got timely hits and Iwakuma threw a gem," Franklin said. "I wouldn't expect anything less from him."

Said Seager of Iwakuma: "He's phenomenal. He's unbelievably consistent. He's special."

NOTES: Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch as part of the Rangers' "Texas Tech Night." Other schools in the Big 12 will also be featured over the course of the season. ... Texas officials announced before the game that former Rangers president Tom Schieffer, who took the lead role in building the team's new ballpark 20 years ago, will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in August. Schieffer was also U.S. Ambassador to Japan during the President George W. Bush administration. ... Tuesday's game was the first of 16 games in 16 days for Seattle, which entered the game 7-1 this season following an off-day.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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