Old friend John Jaso started the game with a knock to right off Hisashi Iwakuma. That was it until the sixth for Oakland against Iwakuma.
Iwakuma is 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA after seven more dominant innings Friday night in the Mariners’ 6-3 win. He has 51 strikeouts and has allowed eight walks. In 51 2/3 innings, he’s given up just 30 hits. That’s almost a 2:1 strikeouts (51) to hits allowed (30) ratio.
Raul Ibanez provided the pop to back up Iwakuma. He hit a three-run homer in the third to put the Mariners up 5-0. Iwakuma allowed a double in the sixth which scored two before zipping through the seventh.
Iwakuma said the blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand is healed. He also said his delivery — that of the double-rock and double-hitch leg kick –has always been natural to him.
“That’s how I time myself to pitch every pitch,” Iwakuma said. “That’s something I feel very comfortable in doing, and I’ve been doing this a long time.”
On to some quick notes and quotes:
> Kyle Seager was on base four times. He walked twice and had two hits, one squibber to short and a blooper to left. He even picked up a stolen base though no throw was made. Knowing he had the kind of statistical day that can only seemingly come from clean living, Seager said, “It’s beautiful.”
> Tom Wilhelmsen has 10 saves and has allowed five hits. Righties are 0-for-26 against him this year. In each of his 15 appearances, he’s retired the first batter. His ERA is 0.56.
> Justin Smoak was on base twice with a hit and a walk. Both were good at-bats where he was down in the count before coming back to reach.
> Ibanez was a bit out front on his homer, but caught it on the barrel. All three of Ibanez’s homers this season have come in Safeco. He has 69 career homers in the park, the most by any player.
> Oliver Perez allowed a solo homer to start the eighth before striking out the side. Seth Smith in particular looked bad when waving at Perez’s slider to close the inning.
> Ibanez faced Iwakuma last season when Ibanez was with the Yankees. His take on Iwakuma:
“He’s got a lot of weapons. He locates very well. He moves the ball around.
“He’s effective in the strike zone, then he throws enough strikes to get you aggressive then he throws that split, can backdoor his breaking ball.
“There’s a little deception there in the delivery and the windup, you pair that up with a good fastball and locating. He knows when to throw the ball out of the strike zone to get guys to chase. He’s smart.”