Yu Darvish goes after his third win in as many starts on Friday when the Texas Rangers continue a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Darvish wasn't as close to perfect as he was in his initial outing on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but was good enough to get the win, as he allowed three runs and six hits with four walks in five innings.
He also struck out six batters and has fanned 20 in 13 2/3 innings so far, while pitching to a 1.98 ERA.
Darvish split his four starts against the Mariners last season and pitched to a 6.65 ERA.
Seattle will counter with a Japanese right-hander of its own in Hisashi Iwakuma, who is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. After beating Oakland in his season debut, Iwakuma did not get a decision in his last start against Chicago, as he surrendered three runs and four hits in eight innings.
Since moving to the rotation midway through last season Iwakuma has pitched to a 264 ERA in 18 starts.
"Kuma was good again today," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "For him to go eight innings this early in the season says a great deal. He was very efficient. You're going to have some long balls here, but he did a nice job of controlling the baseball game, using all of his pitches. He did a nice job."
Iwakuma faced the Rangers four times (3 starts) last season and was 1-2 with a save and a 5.31 ERA against them.
Texas drew first blood in this series on Thursday, as A.J. Pierzynski hit a solo home run to help the Rangers to a 4-3 win. Elvis Andrus, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz each drove in a run for the Rangers, who have won seven of their last nine.
Justin Grimm lasted just four innings in the start as he gave up two runs on five hits with three walks. Joe Ortiz (1-0) got the first win of his career for tossing two perfect innings in relief.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo home run while Justin Smoak had two hits and two runs scored for the Mariners, who have dropped seven of their past nine games.
Felix Hernandez (1-2) gave up four runs -- three earned -- on 10 hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts, the second of which was the 1,500th of his career.
To make matters worse for the Mariners Michael Morse left the game after getting hit by a pitch and could miss up to a week with a small fracture on his right pinkie finger.
Texas was 10-9 against the Mariners last season.