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Streaking Mariners hope to rub off on Iwakuma vs. Braves

(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot Seattle Mariners will try to cajole one of their most reliable pitchers -- Hisashi Iwakuma -- into success of his own on Wednesday afternoon, when they wrap up a two-game interleague series against the host Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

The Mariners have won four games in a row after a 7-5 defeat of the Braves in Tuesday's opener, but Iwakuma has dropped consecutive starts and is winless since beginning the season at 3-0.

He allowed just six runs in his initial 30 2/3 innings across the initial four starts of 2014, but has since been nicked for nine runs in 13 innings while dropping a pair of decisions, most recently a 6-3 verdict to Detroit on Friday.

Iwakuma was hit hard in two interleague outing last season before settling down to toss seven scoreless innings against St. Louis on Sept. 13 -- his last exposure to the National League.

He has never faced the Braves.

Atlanta is 0-5 in interleague games after Tuesday's opener, in which they led, 4-0, after the first inning before ultimately losing.

"We let them hang around and they came back and they got the big hits," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You've got to give them the credit."

Atlanta has lost three in a row in its home park and will turn to lefty Mike Minor to stop the free fall.

Minor has won two decisions and posted a 2.03 earned run average in his last four starts since he was hammered for 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings of a loss to St. Louis on May 7.

He got a no-decision in his most recent start against Boston on Thursday, after tossing seven scoreless innings.

Minor has never pitched against Seattle.

On Tuesday, John Buck's go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning was the difference in the Seattle win. Buck finished 3-for-4 and scored three runs while Stefen Romero had a pinch-hit three-run home run for the Mariners.

Seattle's bullpen shut down the Braves after a rocky start from Erasmo Ramirez, with four pitchers allowing just two hits and a pair of walks in six scoreless innings. Dominic Leone (2-0) fanned four batters in two innings of relief to earn the win. Fernando Rodney pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the win and collect his 15th save of the season.

Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and B.J. Upton collected two hits, one being a solo shot, and scored a pair of runs for the Braves.

Alex Wood (5-6) served up the go-ahead home run to absorb the loss.