The Grand Slam: Mariners win again after strong outing by Hisashi Iwakuma

Mike Oz
May 9, 2014

Hisashi Iwakuma looked a lot like his 2013 self on Thursday night, and it helped the Seattle Mariners win for the 11th time in their last 14 games.

Iwakuma, was making just his second start of the season after beginning the year on the disabled list. He looked just fine against the Kansas City Royals, guiding the Mariners to a 1-0 win. Iwakuma pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven. He was rather efficient, throwing 93 pitches through eight innings. However, Iwakuma asked out of the game before the ninth. He preferred to not overdo it instead of pursuing the shutout.

Last season, Iwakuma had a stellar season and was a fringe Cy Young candidate. He had a 2.66 ERA in 33 starts, the third best ERA in the AL. He's a great No. 2 for the Mariners behind Felix Hernandez, and a necessary piece if the Mariners want to contend in the AL West.

After their hot streak, the Mariners (18-16) are now in second place in the division, 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics. Before winning 11 of 14, the Mariners were 1/2 a game out of last place in the AL West with a record of 7-13.

GIANTS BEAT THE DODGERS — AGAIN
The San Francisco Giants are tussling with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for four games beginning Thursday, and the Giants took Round 1. It took 10 innings, but the Giants secured a 3-1 victory. The Giants are now 5-2 against the Dodgers this season.

The game was 1-1 headed into extra innings, but the Giants rallied to score two go-ahead runs with a little help from the Dodgers bullpen. The Giants earned three walks in the 10th, loading up the bases and pushing a run past on a Hector Sanchez sac fly, then another on a Brandon Belt single.

With the win, the Giants (22-13) tied the Brewers for the best record in the NL.

ROCKIES OFFENSE SHUTOUT FOR FIRST TIME
After being outscored 29-4 in the first three games of their series against the Colorado Rockies, the Texas Rangers finally were able to calm the Colorado bats. The Rangers beat the Rockies 5-0, the first time all season the Rockies offense was shutout. The Rockies have scored a league-high 215 runs, which is 36 more than the next team.

Matt Harrison and four relievers stifled the Rockies bats. Things were going so good for the Rangers that even Prince Fielder, he of the .228 batting average, homered. The Rockies had five hits, one of which came from Nolan Arenado, who upped his hitting streak to a franchise-record 28 games.

ASTROS TAKE ONE FROM TIGERS
The American League's worst team beat the American League's best team, as the Houston Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 6-2 on Thursday, snapping the Tigers' eight-game winning streak. Rookie George Springer hit his first career homer, one of three homers hit by Houston. Jose Altuve also had a go-ahead double.

Here's Astros manager Bo Porter, via MLB.com:  

"It was nice to see George finally hit one," Porter said. "I thought the biggest hit of the game was the Altuve two-out double that put us ahead. That's the big hit that had been eluding us during this stretch. That put us ahead, and it was a hit that was very much needed for our offense. It was good to get the tack-on runs we were able to get -- Corporan with the home run and Dominguez the big home run in the ninth inning that gave us a little bit more of a cushion."

For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!