May 31, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Game thread: Mariners vs. Twins, May 31: Mariners win, 3-0
Great outing by Iwakuma to reduce his ERA to 2.13, with Tom Wilhelmsen rebounding from Wednesday’s debacle to record his 12th save. And Kendrys Morales did the big damage with a two-run homer.
TWINS EIGHTH: Well, there won’t be a complete game for Iwakuma. With two outs and one on, Wedge lifted him to bring in Furbush to face left-handed Justin Morneau. And the move worked as Furbush fanned Morneau on three pitches. Still, I was surprised he didn’t let Iwakuma keep going. He was at 98 pitches and breezing. 3-0 Mariners
MARINERS EIGHTH: It’s another good day for Nick Franklin, who had a sharp single to center. He’s been on base three times tonight (two walks). 3-0 Mariners
TWINS SEVENTH: Iwakuma is in line for his first career complete game (not counting 48 in Japan), and has a shot at a shutout as well. The only Twins who have him figured out are Parmelee and Florimon, who have five of the six Minnesota hits. They each singled in seventh to put runners on the corners, but Carroll grounded out. 3-0 Mariners
MARINERS SIXTH: The Mariners broke through with three runs, the big blow a two-run homer by the torrid Kendrys Morales. Jesus Sucre later singled in a run as the Mariners knocked out starter Mike Pelfrey. 3-0 Mariners
TWINS FIFTH: Iwakuma works out of another jam, stranding runners on second and third. He got a huge break when Florimon’s drive down the left-field line bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Parmelee had already rounded third but he had to go back. Carroll then grounded out. 0-0
MARINERS FIFTH: They blew a golden opportunity to jump ahead in this game after back-to-back singles by Sucre and Ryan to start the inning. Rather surprisingly, Endy Chavez didn’t bunt and instead grounded into a double play. Jason Bay hit a shot to right that sent Parmelee all the way back to the wall, but he reached up and grabbed it.
TWINS FOURTH: Iwakuma is through four innings on just 45 pitches. He still has a perfect 0.00 career ERA vs. Twins in 17 innings over three starts (two unearned runs). 0-0
TWINS THIRD: Great job by Iwakuma working out of big trouble — a leadoff double by Parmelee, then first and third, one out. Credit Brendan Ryan with another fielding gem, unhesitatingly going home on Carroll’s grounder to nail Parmelee at the plate. And credit Jesus Sucre for holding onto the ball when Parmelee crashed into him. 0-0
MARINERS THIRD: They leave two for the second straight inning as Morales flies out to deep left. Brendan Ryan had the M’s first hit, while Kyle Seager was hit on the back of his right shoulder.
MARINERS SECOND: Two-out walks by Saunders (who steals second) and Franklin before Sucre hit into a force out. Opponents are hitting .333 off Pelfrey in 10 starts.
TWINS FIRST: Iwakuma breezed through an eight-pitch first inning. In two previous starts against Minnesota, he has not allowed an earned run in 13 innings.
MARINERS FIRST: A one-out walk by Jason Bay is wiped out when Kyle Seager grounds into a 4-6-3 double play. 0-0.
It’s Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Mike Pelfrey at Target Field. One player the Mariners need to get going is Michael Saunders, who is 4-for-46 (.087) over his last 13 games, with just one extra base hit and 21 strikeouts.
“I thought he had a real good day the other day, and a tough one again yesterday,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It doesn’t always jump right back in. Sometimes, you have to baby step your way back into it. I think he’s handled it well. We’ve had some good discussions. He has to keep fighting. Sometimes, it doesn’t come back easy. It’s not for lack of effort or work or lack of recognition of what’s going on. He has to handle the frustration, go out and keep fighting.”