The first inning of Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2015 season was a four-run disaster as the Angels took the game 5-3 Wednesday night at Safeco Field and the opening series of the season 2-1. (box score) The Mariners had a solo homer from Brad Miller in the third and a two-run shot from Kyle Seager in the sixth, but Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and four relievers held off further rallies.
Trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning, the Mariners loaded the bases with one out, but DH Rickie Weeks struck out and 1B Adam Morrison popped weakly to left.
After giving up five runs, four earned, in the first two innings, including a two-run homer to Albert Pujols, Iwakuma settled down, finishing six innings giving up nine hits with 92 pitches, 61 for strikes. Shoemaker threw 56 strikes in 79 pitches. He is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA (7 ER, 26.1 IP) in 5 games/4 starts vs. the Mariners in his career.
Miller had a single to go with his first homer. Cano, with a pair of doubles, was the only other Mariner with more than one hit, and also muffed a routine grounder in the first that made one run unearned. Seager’s homer was his first hit of the season.
Iwakuma “finally got the ball down. He threw the splitter great later and saved us by going six innings . . . (Hitters) really grinded out some at-bats. I was very proud of the way they went about their business . . . I’m not worried about Nelly (Cruz, 1-for-12). When he hits, they’ll come in bunches.”
Pujols’ homer was the 521st of his career, tying him with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams . . . Iwakuma allowed five or more runs for the 10th time in his career (last: 7, Sept. 15, 2014 at Angels) . . . Mariners OF Seth Smith, 3-for-3 in the opening game, was held out of the past two games with a strained groin . . . RHP reliever Carson Smith struck out three of the five batters he faced, including Pujols in the seventh. Smith has not allowed a hit in his last nine appearances dating back to Sept. 6, 2014 . . . The game drew 25,495 and new commissioner Rob Manfred, making his first visit to Safeco . . . SS Chris Taylor, recovering from a broken wrist bone, is working out with Class AAA Tacoma. “He’s still got to play in games and get out there and compete,” McClendon said. “He’s still a ways away.”
After a day off Thursday, the Mariners begin the season’s first road trip in Oakland at 7 p.m. Friday. Taijuan Walker (2-3, 2.61 ERA in ’14) vs. Drew Pomeranz (5-4, 2.35 in ’14). Root Sports TV, 710 ESPN radio.