Seattle's Iwakuma eyes revenge on Astros

Hisashi Iwakuma has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. His lone loss, though, came against one of the worst teams in the league.

Iwakuma will try to avenge that loss on Monday when the Seattle Mariners kick off a three-game series versus the lowly Houston Astros at Safeco Field.

Iwakuma has been magnificent for the Mariners this season, posting a 6-1 mark to go along with the American League's second best ERA at 1.94 ERA. However, his lone loss came to the Astros, who enter this series 20 games under .500 at 22-42.

The Japanese right-hander, who struck out a season-high 11 batters in the loss to the Astros back on April 23, did not get a decision on Wednesday against Chicago, but it was through no fault of his own, as he scattered three hits over eight scoreless innings in a wild affair eventually won by the White Sox in 16 innings.

"He was in control the entire day and just did a fantastic job," manager Eric Wedge said. "I think when you talk about consistency with the delivery and stuff, he's done a fantastic job with that all year."

Iwakuma will try to help Seattle bounce back from a series loss to the New York Yankees over the weekend that culminated with a 2-1 loss on Sunday. Brendan Ryan's RBI single in the second inning was one of only six Seattle hits as the Mariners fell for the fourth time in five games.

"We can't keep watching this, we have to be better offensively," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "When we do create opportunities, we're not taking advantage of it. Having said that, we've got to create more opportunities. You're not going to come through every day, but we sure ought to do better than what we do right now."

Houston, meanwhile, has lost four in a row after getting swept by the Kansas City Royals this past weekend. The Astros managed just five hits in Sunday's 2-0 setback.

"We're trying to play good baseball," said first baseman Carlos Pena. "Every single time we go out there we want to make sure that we do the best we can to put the best of us on the field. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out that way. Sometimes you get beat. Today, I think, was one of those days where we got beat. I thought we played a pretty good ballgame."

Getting the call for the Astros on Monday will be lefty Dallas Keuchel, who has won his last two starts. Keuchel beat the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, limiting them to just a run and five hits over six innings to improve to 3-2 on the season with a 4.70 ERA.

This will be Keuchel's first-ever start versus the Mariners.

Houston has won four of six from Seattle this season.