Seattle, WA – Hisashi Iwakuma tossed seven outstanding innings on Friday as the Seattle Mariners topped the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
One game after Felix Hernandez tossed a perfect game in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Iwakuma (4-3) retired the first 12 batters he faced before giving up a double to Justin Morneau. He allowed unearned one run on four hits with six strikeouts to notch the win.
Morneau's double snapped a streak of 42 consecutive batters set down by Mariners pitching, going back to the ninth inning of Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay.
"I think it shows how crazy this game is, that's pretty phenomenal for our pitching staff," Jaso said of the streak. "There's a lot of those little things that defy the odds in this game. This game is all about stats and all about averages and you got to go with those, but there's a time when it's going to shock you."
John Jaso ripped a two-run home run and Miguel Olivo clubbed a solo shot, while Eric Thames and Dustin Ackley added an RBI apiece for the M's, who have won three straight.
Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham smacked solo home runs for the Twins, who lost for the third straight time. Nick Blackburn (4-9) took the loss after giving up five runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Seattle got off to a fast start with a pair of runs in the first at-bat as Michael Saunders lined a one-out single to center and scored when Jaso smoked a two-run shot over the wall in right.
Olivo led off the Seattle second with a towering home run deep into the seats in left to extend the margin to 3-0.
Morneau picked up Minnesota's first hit of the contest with a sharp double down the right field line and Ryan Doumit reached on Brendan Ryan's throwing error to put runners on second and third. Matt Carson got the Twins on the board with an RBI single into left-center field, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Iwakuma got out of the inning by striking out Pedro Florimon Jr. and Darin Mastroianni.
Trayvon Robinson started the Mariners' sixth with a double and scored on a two-bagger by Thames, who advanced to third on a bunt by Ryan and scored when Ackley ripped a base hit up the middle to extend the lead to 5-1.
Mauer and Willingham stroked back-to-back solo shots with two outs in the eighth to pull the Twins within two, but Tom Wilhelmsen turned Minnesota away in the ninth to pick up his 17th save of the season.
"Offensively, we didn't do much," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had a couple of home runs back-to-back which got us back into the ballgame which made it interesting, but like you saw they've got a pretty good closer there."
Prior to Friday's game, the Mariners activated pitcher Charlie Furbush from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Shawn Kelly to Triple-A Tacoma ... Wilhelmsen has allowed just four runs over his last 31 appearances ... The Mariners improved to 20-13 since the All-Star break.