Hisashi Iwakuma has the best ERA of any starter in the American League since last year's All-Star break. But, he has yet to beat the New York Yankees in two starts.
The Japanese righty looks to change that on Wednesday when the Seattle Mariners continue a three-game set against them at Yankee Stadium.
Iwakuma won his second straight start on Friday against Oakland, as he limited the A's to a pair of runs over seven innings. He also struck out nine without walking a batter to run his record to 4-1 to go along with a 1.74 ERA.
Since the midway point a year ago, Iwakuma's 2.22 ERA over 23 starts is the lowest among AL starters.
"I pitched with composure," Iwakuma said through a translator. "I just stayed patient because we had the lead, so I was able to go with the flow and pitch my own game."
Iwakuma is 0-1 versus the Yanks with a 3.60 ERA.
Getting the call for the Yankees will be righty Phil Hughes, who is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA. Hughes defeated Kansas City his last time out, but was not sharp, as he surrendered a season-high six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"It wasn't very good," Hughes said. "The guys stepped up big and put up a bunch of runs. I gave away two leads, which is never a good thing, but those guys kept at it and scored a ton of runs. Thankfully, I was able to bring my not-so-good game on a day when we scored a lot of runs."
Hughes has faced Seattle nine times (6 starts) and is 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA.
New York rallied to win Tuesday's opener, as Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay each drove in two runs and spurred a seventh-inning comeback that lifted the Yankees to a 4-3 victory.
Cano delivered a game-tying two-RBI double in the seventh and later scored the go-ahead run as part of a 2-for-3 performance. Chris Nelson also came through with a pair of hits and a run scored to help the Yankees post their seventh win in eight outings.
The comeback prevented Felix Hernandez from winning a fifth consecutive start after the star righty outdueled CC Sabathia in a clash of aces. Hernandez held New York to one run and five hits while striking out eight before exiting after six innings.
Charlie Furbush (0-2) was hung with the loss after permitting two runs and recording just one out in the seventh.
Sabathia racked up a season-best 10 strikeouts, but was reached for three runs -- two earned -- on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings. Two of those runs came on a homer by former Yankee Raul Ibanez that put Seattle up 3-0 in the sixth.
Ex-Mariner Shawn Kelley (2-0) received the victory after retiring both men he faced in relief of Sabathia, with Mariano Rivera firing a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 16th save in as many chances this season.
Ibanez finished 2-for-4 for the Mariners, with Kyle Seager contributing an RBI double in the setback.
Curtis Granderson returned to the New York lineup from a fractured right forearm sustained in late February, but went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored in his season debut.
The Yankees were 6-3 against the Mariners last season.