The Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma outdueled Lance McCullers today, and the Mariners evened up the three-game series with a 1-0 win over the Astros.
Hisashi Iwakuma got the win and the Mariners got revenge against McCullers who had dominated the Mariners in his last start. The M’s won despite not having Nelson Cruz or Ketel Marte in the lineup, both were dinged up in last night’s game.
The Mariners had gotten off to a poor start last night in Seattle against the Astros. James Paxton just didn’t have his best command and got tagged for 6 runs in just 5 innings.
Meanwhile, the Mariners offense could muster just three runs off Doug Fister, who gave the Astros their fifth straight win against the M’s, a 7-3 final. It was important today that the Mariners take advantage of a recent Rangers losing streak and keep pace with the second-place Astros.
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Lance McCullers was nearly as dominant today as he was in his start last week against the M’s. McCullers, who throws 95-97 mph with his fastball only threw his fastball about 1/3rd of the time. His curve today though was just as dazzling as it was last week, and the Mariners continued to wave and miss at it, striking out eight times. Lance was not as efficient though as Kuma, coupling 4 walks with his 8 strikeouts, and had to leave the game after pitching just 5 & 1/3 innings. The Mariners were finally able to get a run off McCullers just before he was taken out. A Robinson Cano RBI single followed a leadoff triple by Leonys Martin to finally break a sixth inning scoreless tie.
Hisashi Iwakuma got the start and pitched without a doubt, his best game of the season thus far. Iwakuma would give up just two hits in seven brisk innings, doubles to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. It appeared that Hisashi has been utilizing his slow curveball more and more as of late, and today it was a huge weapon for him. As usual, Kuma pitched very efficiently, having to throw just 90 pitches before giving way to Edwin Diaz in the 8th.
If you’ve been waiting for the Edwin’s electricity to burn out, you’ll have to wait at least one more night. Diaz would strike out Carlos Gomez and Jason Castro, and eventually retired George Springer on a very weak swing to end the 8th.
The Mariners took their 1-0 lead into the 9th, when Steve Cishek got a chance to earn his 22nd save of the season. Marwin Gonzalez would golf a 1-2 breaking ball into the right field corner to lead off the inning. Altuve would follow with a surprising bunt attempt, but it was bunted firmly right back to Cishek, who retired the lead runner Gonzalez after a run-down. Altuve, who had reached second on the rundown, would eventually steal third easily.
Correa would strike out swinging though, spoiling the opportunity for the Astros to score a run to tie the game without the benefit of a hit. Mariner killer Luis Valbuena stepped up to the plate next, with another chance to hurt his old team. Cishek would get two pitches that were technically balls called as strikes, including the third to end the at bat and end an intense 9th inning.
The Mariners won the pitchers duel 1-0 and tie the series at one game a piece. They look to take the series tomorrow at 1:10 pm PST at Salute to Kids Day in Safeco Field.
Tomorrow’s Probables: The M’s send Mike Montgomery to the mound to try to follow up on an impressive spot-start he made in Kansas City last week, before the All Star break. The Astros call upon Collin McHugh to toe the bump. McHugh hasn’t won a game since May 30th, and it has been a struggle all season for the 29-year-old right hander.
Mike Montgomery 3-3, 2.06 ERA vs. Collin McHugh 5-6, 4.50 ERA
Mariners Injury News: Both Felix Hernandez and Charlie Furbush pitched in rehab assignments the past couple days in Tacoma. Felix faired well pitching 5+ innings and giving up just one run on a solo home run. Charlie retired the first two batters he faced, but then took a line drive off his back, and left the game for precautionary reasons. Felix is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
Mentionables: The Rangers lost again today to the Chicago Cubs. Texas has lost 9 of their last 11 games, including 5 out of 6 against the miserable Minnesota Twins.
Today’s Date in Baseball History: If you prefer lots of hitting and not a pitcher’s duel, it could have been worse today.
|The Tigers and Senators play the longest scoreless game in American League history. Detroit’s Ed Summers, who gives up just seven hits, goes the distance, but doesn’t get a decision when the 0-0 contest at Bennett Park is called after the 18th inning.
By Collin Ferguson at EmeraldCitySwagger.com & Collin-Ferguson.com