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April 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Hisashi Iwakuma makes big inning stand up in much-needed Mariners win

The giant video board at Safeco Field advertises a rare win by the Mariners, 3-1 over the Texas Rangers.

The giant video board at Safeco Field advertises a rare win by the Mariners, 3-1 over the Texas Rangers.

That was a pretty big 3-1 win by the Mariners tonight, despite the fact it’s still early in the season. The Mariners sent a depleted-looking lineup out there against Japanese star Yu Darvish while countering with Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound in an all-Nippon clash of hurlers.

Iwakuma is the more unheralded of the two, but he actually out-pitched Darvish when it mattered tonight and the Mariners rode a big first inning all the way to victory. Seattle scored three times in the first inning in a rare display of veterans and young players coming through with key hits at the same time.

Jason Bay reached base when hit by a Darvish pitch, then eventually made it to third on a Kendrys Morales single. Raul Ibanez singled from there to open the scoring, but the big blow of the game was a Kyle Seager double past the first base bag that scored a pair to give Iwakuma a three-run lead.

And Iwakuma made it stand up, allowing just a solo homer to Ian Kinsler on the scoreboard. He was pulled two outs into the seventh inning, having struck out six batters while walking only one.

Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor took things to the ninth, where Tom Wilhelmsen closed it out.

Darvish didn’t allow a hit after the first inning, but enough damage had already been done. Hits were at a premium tonight, as expected by fans of the two Japanese pitchers.

But the Mariners got just enough of those hits at key moments to improve to 5-7.

Comments | More in postgame | Topics: kyle seager; raul ibanez; hisashi iwakuma; yu darvish

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