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Another strong outing for Hisashi Iwakuma as Seattle Mariners defeat Texas Rangers

By The Sports Xchange
Another strong outing for Hisashi Iwakuma as Seattle Mariners defeat Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. UPI/David Tulis | License Photo

ARLINGTON, Texas -- No-hitter or not, Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma is in a groove.

The Seattle right-hander allowed just two runs in seven innings as the Mariners cooled off the Texas Rangers with a 3-2 win Tuesday night.

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Iwakuma, who had a no-hitter in his last outing, gave up just five hits in seven innings to a Texas team that had won five straight overall and eight straight at Globe Life Park.

Iwakuma has won three straight starts, with the no-hitter sandwiched by wins over the Rangers. Tuesday night he allowed the Rangers to have multiple hits in just one inning and both of those were in the second inning.

"I felt all right today," Iwakuma said. "I tried to keep the ball down in the zone, make early contact. I was able to do that."

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He also didn't have to worry about pitching consecutive no-hitters for long as Texas right fielder Shin-Soo Choo singled with one out in the bottom of the first. That may have actually helped Iwakuma Tuesday.

"It's hard to say," he said. "Maybe I was relieved. If I had gone more and more longer, maybe it would have become a different kind of burden. Who knows?"

He didn't have the burden of worrying about run support for long. The Mariners gave Iwakuma more than enough run support in the top of the first, scoring three times off Texas rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez.

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz lined an RBI double to left field and two batters later, right fielder Seth Smith hit a two-run homer into the Texas bullpen in right-center.

The Rangers got a run off Iwakuma in the second inning on a solo homer by second baseman Rougned Odor. Texas trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by catcher Bobby Wilson. That was it though for the Rangers as Iwakuma led the way for a pitching effort that was finished off with a perfect ninth by Carson Smith.

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"He (Iwakuma) was pitching everything down," said Odor, who was the lone Ranger with two hits. "He was throwing everything to us -- fastball, changeup, split and slider. He did a good job tonight. We tried to do everything we can, but it happens. We tried our best, but he did a good job today."

Iwakuma threw just 99 pitches but after starts in which he had thrown 118 and 116, manager Lloyd McClendon had seen enough.

"I thought Kuma was outstanding," McClendon said. "He made the pitches that he needed to make. He hit his spots. Our defense played good behind him. His pitch count wasn't outrageous, but the Texas heat can get you."

Gonzalez allowed just two hits after his rough first inning. He struck out a career-high seven in his six innings of work on five hits. He was sent to Triple-A following the game to clear a spot on the roster for Wednesday starter Derek Holland.

Gonzalez goes down knowing he can rebound from a bad inning.

"I just continued to do what I did in the first inning," said Gonzalez. "I made two bad pitches, I feel like, and they hit them. The home run obviously and the fastball to Cruz they got the double on. I stuck to it. I started pounded the ball down in the zone and I had good results."

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Shortstop Ketel Marte and third baseman Kyle Seager each had two hits for the Mariners. The Cruz double extended his streak of reaching safely to 29 straight games, the fourth-longest streak in the majors this year.

NOTES: Texas OF Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup for a third consecutive game Tuesday with a sore left knee. Hamilton hopes to be in the lineup Thursday when the Rangers open a series at Detroit. ... Rangers C Robinson Chirinos, who is on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain, hopes to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. ... Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo reached base Monday via a hit, a walk and getting hit by a pitch. That's the 21st time since 2009 that Choo has reached via all three. No other player has done it more than 16 times in that span (Kevin Youkilis). ... Seattle LHP James Paxton threw 30 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday. He's been out since May with a strained left middle finger and could begin a rehab assignment after a bullpen session Thursday. ... Seattle RHP Francisco Rodney has been on the mound for a walk-off defeat 19 times in his career, with three of them coming against the Rangers. The Mariners lead the AL with nine walk-off losses this season.

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