Baseball / Sports

Mariners' Iwakuma continues mastery over Twins

SEATTLE -- The percentages of baseball indicate that someday the Minnesota Twins will actually score a run against Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.

It didn't happen Monday night, however, as Iwakuma continued his hex on the Twins to lead Seattle to a 2-0 victory.

Iwakuma (7-4) allowed just four hits in pitching seven scoreless innings and has not allowed an earned run in 332/3 innings against the Twins in his career (he has allowed two unearned runs).

He also struck out 10, while not allowing a walk in throwing 105 pitches. He struck out at least one in each inning in what was the third time he has had 10 or more strikeouts in a game (his career high is 13 against Toronto in 2013).

None were bigger than his final one, as he got Twins center fielder Sam Fuld swinging at a 3-2 breaking ball to end the seventh inning with runners on second and third. The normally reserved Iwakuma responded with a little pump of his glove as he left the mound.

Seattle's bullpen then finished up the final two innings, with Fernando Rodney increasing his American League lead in saves to 26. It all allowed the Mariners to improve to 49-40, and again a season-high-tying nine games over .500.

The pitching also allowed the Mariners to overcome another spotty offensive performance, as they struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. Seattle got its runs on solo homers by Mike Zunino and Mike Saunders -- each on 3-2 pitches off Minnesota starter Kevin Correria.

Otherwise, the Mariners didn't do much against Correria, who entered the game 4-10 with a 4.95 earned-run average and became the latest lower-rotation pitcher to hold the Seattle offense in check.

Zunino's homer came with one out in the bottom of the second, over the left field wall, to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.

The home run was the 13th of the season for Zunino and he has now homered in six of his last 13 games.

But otherwise, the Mariners' offense was mostly in a deep freeze against Correria, despite a game that began with a temperature of 80 degrees.

(c)2014 The Seattle Times

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