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Iwakuma tries to follow up gem in middle tilt against Rays
(SportsNetwork.com) - Hisashi Iwakuma will look to provide another jolt of success to the Seattle Mariners' rotation on Tuesday evening as he gets the start in the second contest of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Iwakuma did not make his season debut until May 3 due to a strained finger and struggled a bit in his first start despite getting the win at Houston. The righty allowed four runs over 6 2/3 innings, but was then outstanding on Thursday versus the Kansas City Royals.
Iwakuma tossed eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball, striking out seven without issuing a walk against the Royals.
"Today was very close to 100 percent," Iwakuma told Seattle's website through a translator. "As the game got deeper I was able to command all of my pitches, and all of my pitches were working really well."
The 33-year-old has faced the Rays twice before, posting a 3.86 earned run average without a decision.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, will hope that David Price can get on track as the former AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 over his last three starts and lasted just five innings in a 3-1 loss to Baltimore on Thursday.
The 28-year-old left-hander gave up three runs on nine hits with a walk, striking out three over 100 pitches.
"You've got to give Baltimore credit. They did work some extended at-bats (against Price), a lot of foul balls," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Price will face the Mariners for the second time in his career and did not get a decision in the first meeting, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings with seven strikeouts.
The Mariners extended the Rays' recent struggles with a 12-5 victory in Monday's opener as Stefen Romero, Mike Zunino and Justin Smoak all homered. Romero finished with three hits and drove in three runs, while Robinson Cano and Corey Hart had two RBI each.
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez did not allow a run through his first six innings of work, but yielded four in the seventh frame while recording two outs. He was lifted after allowing a three-run double to Tampa Bay's Ryan Hanigan, but ejected by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger before reaching the dugout for arguing balls and strikes.
"I'm a pro baseball player now. First ejection," Hernandez joked.
Hanigan added a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth for the Rays, who have lost six of their last seven games.
The Mariners, meanwhile, have split their past six contests following a five- game winning streak.
"We just sashayed into the canyon and they were firing from both sides," Maddon said.
Cesar Ramos lasted 6 2/3 innings as well despite getting torched for nine runs -- five earned -- on 11 hits. Tampa Bay's defense made four errors, including one by Ramos himself.
These two clubs split six meetings last year, with Seattle winning two of three at home.
05/13 11:09:19 ET