Hisashi Iwakuma won’t be getting the win tonight, as Desmond Jennings opened the seventh with a double off newly-installed reliever Steve Delabar, took third on a bunt and then — one out later — scored on an infield single deep in the shortstop hole by B.J. Upton.
So, we’re all tied up 3-3.
6:22 p.m.: Carlos Peguero may have pulled the ole’ phantom glove trick last inning, but he made up for it in the seventh with his phantom ball trick. James Shields threw the ball with a runner on base and Peguero made it disappear — about 10 rows back into the right-center field bleachers. Ouch, what a shot!
So, the M’s are back in front 3-2 and Hisashi Iwakuma is still in-line for the win. But he’s now out of the game and Steve Delabar is on to start the seventh. Iwakuma went six innings, allowed six hits, two runs, fanned seven and walked only one. That was a quality major league outing.
6:05 p.m.: That sixth inning didn’t go as well for Hisashi “The Bear” Iwakuma, who saw his second pitch belted over the wall in left by B.J. Upton to tie the game. That’s one B.J. and The Bear re-run Iwakuma won’t want to watch (not that anyone really wants to watch that show, though it might be popular in Japan, who knows?).
Anyhow, Carlos Peguero then pulled off the impossible in left field and seemed to let a Ben Zobrist gapper magically go right through his glove for a double. Seriously, Peguero got to the ball, stuck out his glove and the thing went right on through as if the glove was a holograph.
Iwakuma notched a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but then Jeff Keppinger singled through the left side to bring the go-ahead marker home.
So, the Rays now lead it 2-1. My guess is that we just saw Iwakuma’s final inning. So, unless the M’s rally the next half frame, Iwakuma will have to wait another time for his long awaited first win in the majors as a starting pitcher. Don’t forget, he expected to be vying for those more than a year ago.
Instead, he got to messin’ around watching too much B.J. and The Bear and look what that did. Nah, just kidding. You’re all too serious.
5:26 p.m.: Hisashi Iwakuma is putting on a show through four innings and carries a 1-0 lead into the fifth. As we mentioned earlier, even in that long first inning, Iwakuma had some good looking stuff tonight and it shows as these innings move along. He’s got three strikeouts, two popouts a doubleplay grounder and has allowed just two singles.
4:53 p.m.: One inning in and James Shields continues to struggle against the Mariners, who now lead 1-0 after a triple by Ichiro and a double by Casper Wells. Ichiro’s triple was a nice line drive to the gap in right-center. Had he been doing that all year, he’d still be batting third. Anyhow, it was good to see.
The M’s actually loaded the bases that inning, but Justin Smoak went down swinging. The Mariners have now scored 18 runs in the first two innings of games this trip, while scoring 14 in every other frame.
Hisashi Iwakuma got into a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the inning when a walk, a single and then a throw that didn’t arrive at third in time put runners at second and third with one out.
But Iwakuma got a pop-out to shallow left and then a strikeout to end the inning. Pitched pretty well, I’d say. Stuff is night and day better than it was this past spring.
4:05 p.m.: James Shields has had a pretty good career with the Tampa Bay Rays and it had extended to games against the Mariners in the beginning. But not so much now. Shields was 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA his first seven career starts against Seattle.
His last four times out? He was 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA.
Safe to say, he’ll be seeing more of the guys he’s faced the last four times than the ones he manhandled the first seven.
Could be interesting. We’ve got “The Bear” going for the M’s as Hisashi Iwakuma tries to build off a couple of five-inning starts.