Hisashi Iwakuma won his 15th game, and first since Aug. 13, as the Mariners won for the fourth time in five tries with a 3-2 triumph over Oakland Friday night (box). The Mariners are 6-1 at the Oakland Coliseum this season. Seattle (72-68) moved past Kansas City in the race for the second wild card and trails the spot by 3½ games.
Entering the game in a 3-for-36 slump, C Mike Zunino, hitting leadoff in the seventh, clubbed a 433-foot homer to center, his 10th, for a 3-1 lead and the difference in the game.
The Mariners had a run-scoring double in the first from DH Nelson Cruz, a solo home run from LF Nori Aoki in the third, his second of the season, and Zunino’s decider. That was about it against A’s starter Daniel Mengden, who is 1-7 with a 6.39 ERA.
Iwakuma had six strong innings before faltering in the seventh after a season-high 102 pitches. He gave up seven hits, the last a run-scoring double to Bruce Maxwell, his third hit of the night, to cut the lead to 3-2.
But Dan Altavilla closed the inning and Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz finished off the A’s thereafter.
“Kuma threw the ball well from the first inning on. It was a nice outing. I’ve said I believe in our club. I’d like to win these road series come home to a really nice spot.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
Tom Wilhelmsen, on the DL for two weeks because of back trouble, is expected back in the bullpen for Saturday’s game. He has a 3.20 ERA in 22 appearances with Seattle after he was cut by the Rangers . . . In his last 10 innings, Arquimedes Carminero has given up 18 hits and 14 runs (eight earned) with eight walks and seven strikeouts . . . C Steve Clevenger will not rejoin the club before the season ends. He has been on the disabled list due to a fractured right hand since June 30, then developed elbow problems while on a rehab assignment.
The first of two day games begins at 1:05 p.m. Saturday when the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (10-5, 3,75 ERA), who is 6-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 10 starts since returning from the DL on July 20, goes against the A’ s Kendall Graveman (10-9, 3.81).