Better outing for Hisashi Iwakuma, who is done for the day with his team trailing 2-1 after five innings. Seattle just got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth on a home run to center by Kyle Seager. Nice power display there.
Inning ended in bizarre fashion for the M’s as Michael Saunders walked, then got caught in no man’s land on a shallow pop to right by Casper Wells. The ball landed in front of a sliding outfielder, but Saunders — thinking it would be caught — had sprinted back towards first base. Wells kept going, rounding the bag and passing Saunders at one point — resulting in an automatic out. Saunders was then thrown out heading to second base. So, the scoring on that goes a single for Wells and a 4-6 double-play.
Iwakuma had a bit more trouble in his fourth and final frame when he struck out Trent Oeltjen, but had the ball get by Miguel Olivo on a wild pitch that sent the runner to first base. James Loney then doubled to left-center and an ensuing groundout to the left side brought the run home.
With Loney on second, Iwakuma walked Cory Sullivan to put two on and Josh Fields then singled to left. But that’s where Iwakuma caught a break as Casper Wells made a strong throw back in from left and Loney stopped halfway to home and backtracked to third. Unfortunately for him, Sullivan rounded second and kept going to third as well. Both guys couldn’t stay on the same base so a rundown ensued and Iwakuma had his second out of the inning. He then fanned Matt Treanor to end his day.
The M’s nearly got on the board in the fourth after a leadoff triple by Dustin Ackley. But Ichiro grounded one hard to first base and Ackley was D.O.A. at home. Ichiro then compunded matters by getting picked off first.
12:38 p.m.: Hisashi Iwakuma had a 1-2-3 second inning, then got the first batter out in the third for his seventh hitter in a row retired. But then, he fell behind 3-1 in the count to Matt Treanor and had his next pitch golfed over the wall in left-center field to put the Dodgers on the board in a 1-0 game.
Iwakuma got a second out, then hit Justin Sellers with a pitch. The next batter, Mark Ellis, singled through the open hole in the right side of the infield. Or, at least, he nearly did before the ball hit baserunner Sellers. Automatic out even though Ellis gets credited with the single. So, Iwakuma out of an inning that was starting to get difficult. Poor Sellers took a beating that inning.
Justin Smoak singled to lead off the second but got erased on a Kyle Seager double play grounder.
12:16 p.m.: Better start by Hisashi Iwakuma, who gets the side 1-2-3 in the first inning. Got a groundout to shortstop Chone Figgins, who one-hopped his throw to first but saw it scooped by Justin Smoak. Mark Ellis then lined a ball to right but a sliding Ichiro made the catch. Iwakuma then shattered the bat of Trent Oeltjen an got a harmless groundout.
Mariners went 1-2-3 on three grounders in the bottom of the first.
11:52 a.m.: The Mariners play two split-squad games today, one here in Peoria in about 10 minutes against the Dodgers, then another tonight versus the Diamondbacks. I’m here now for one reason: to see whether Hisashi Iwakuma can make it beyond the first inning.
He didn’t do that his first Cactus League start the last time, throwing 35 pitches in the first inning and being pulled after that. In his intrasquad game, he went one inning, then failed to register an out against six batter in the second inning.
It isn’t crunch time for him yet, but things will get crispier if he can’t show something more today.
I’ll also be out in Scottsdale tonight when the best of the “kids” take the mound. Don’t want to miss that.
As usual, follow along right here or on my @gbakermariners Twitter account.
SS Justin Sellers
2B Mark Ellis
RF Trent Oeltjin
1B James Loney
3B Juan Uribe
CF Cory Sullivan
DH Josh Fields
C Matt Treanor
LF Alex Castellanos
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
SS Chone Figgins
2B Dustin Ackley
1B Justin Smoak
3B Kyle Seager
C Miguel Olivo
CF Michael Saunders
DH Casper Wells
LF Chih-Hsien Chiang
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma