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June 10, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Game thread: Mariners 3, Astros 1, top 8th

Hisashi Iwakuma extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 2/3 by tossing two scoreless frames to start tonight's game.

Hisashi Iwakuma extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 2/3 by tossing two scoreless frames to start tonight’s game.

Yet another unearned run in this game as Jose Altuve drops a relay throw at second on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the seventh. Instead, Michael Morse was able to come up and drilled a double to the gap in left center to bring home a key insurance run for the Mariners, who now lead 3-1.

Hisashi Iwakuma is done after seven innings, allowing just four hits and an unearned run. Iwkuma hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 28 2/3 innings, dating back to May 26.

8:47 p.m.: The Mariners caught the break they needed in the fifth inning as Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez threw a Kendrys Morales grounder away at first base. Kyle Seager came around from second to score on the play, giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Morales was awarded an infield single on the play.

8:28 p.m.: Raul Ibanez tagged Dallas Kuechel for a no-doubt solo homer to right center in the fourth inning that ties this game 1-1. Prior to the blast, the Mariners had gone four straight games without a homer after going deep in nine of their prior 11 contests. There had not been a home run hit by any team the previous three games at Safeco Field, the first time that’s happened since July 1-3, 2011.

7:54 p.m.: Hisashi Iwakuma’s scoreless innings streak just ended at 23 2/3 after a Brendan Ryan error on the front end of a potential double-play gave the Houston Astros runners at the corners and only one out. Jose Altuve delivered the sacrifice fly to give the Astros a 1-0 lead in the top of the third.

Iwakuma had fielded a comebacker, turned and threw to Ryan, only to see him miss the ball with his glove. The scoreless innings streak had been the eighth longest in Mariners history.

6:40 p.m.: We’re getting down to the the nitty gritty on this Mariners season. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: this team has almost no margin for error left in 2013. Yes, believe it or not, the season is not a total write-off just yet. Sweep the Houston Astros — something that’s hardly an impossibility for any club — and you’re back to seven games under .500 and have bought time for players to return from injury.

Lose this series — as in dropping two out of three — and it’s pretty much all over.

This season is now hanging on a series-by-series thread. Take care of business here, and then the Mariners can think about pulling off a surprise or two in Oakland and Anaheim. But if the Mariners do what they’ve done against the Astros their first two series, then they might as well pack it in and get set to audition a bunch of kids in the second half.

Yeah, it’s harsh. But it’s also mid-June. The time to start playing if you had designs on a season of relevance was back on April 1. Pushing it this far is a stretch for the really-loaded teams like the Angels. For the Mariners, it’s just about plug pulling time unless they can extend their lives beyond the next few days.

If they can’t, then it’s pretty much all over except for the calendar countdown.

Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound tonight against…some dude. Blow this start of Iwakuma’s — like the Mariners did last Wednesday to the White Sox — and they will be clinging to the edge of the cliff with their fingernails. This is where they need to get it done.

Comments | More in game thread | Topics: hisashi iwakuma; endy chavez; jason bay; eric wedge

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