SEATTLE - Their eight-game winning streak behind them, the Seattle Mariners extended a different streak on Thursday night.
Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma pitched six scoreless innings and the Mariners rode a six-run second inning to an 8-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Iwakuma has now thrown 26 2/3 innings over four career starts against the Twins without allowing an earned run.
Iwakuma (10-4) allowed just four hits and struck out nine batters, giving him 40 strikeouts in those four starts against the Twins. He has given up just 11 hits and two earned runs over 13 innings pitched since the All-Star break and extended his own personal winning streak to three games.
The Twins (43-56) struck out 13 times Thursday and didn't score until there were two outs in the ninth inning. Chris Hermann's two-out, ninth-inning double on a 3-2 pitch ended 17 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball for Minnesota, and Doug Bernier followed that with an RBI double off reliever Oliver Perez.
The Mariners (49-53) have won nine of 10 games after having the Cleveland Indians snap their eight-game losing streak on Wednesday. Seattle is 14-6 in the month of July.
Minnesota had to use four relief pitchers after starter Kevin Correia (7-7) struggled through his shortest start since 2010.
Correia could not even get out of the second inning, when he faced all nine Seattle batters while giving up seven hits and six runs. The big blow was a three-run homer from Nick Franklin, which came after three consecutive RBI hits.
The season-high six runs Correia allowed in 1 2/3 innings raised his season ERA to 4.56.
Seattle's 6-0 lead seemed to be in pretty good hands considering Iwakuma's career against the Twins. He had not given up an earned run in three previous starts against Minnesota.
Iwakuma got into a little trouble in the third inning, when two singles and a Franklin error loaded the bases with one out. But the right-hander got out of the jam with a strikeout and a Clete Thomas groundout.
The Mariners added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, when they took an 8-0 lead on RBI doubles by Henry Blanco and Dustin Ackley. It was Ackley's third hit of the game.
Notes: Minnesota entered Thursday's game with a 20-31 road record but had won four of its last five away from Target Field. ... The Mariners have won five of the six series they've played in July. Seattle hosted the Twins on Thursday for the first of a four-game series. ... Seattle C Mike Zunino came out of the game in the fifth inning, when Blanco took over as a defensive replacement. Zunino took a foul tip off his glove hand earlier in the game, and the Mariners announced that he was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.