Iwakuma hopes to pitch M's to first series win of season vs. Halos

9:09 AM, Apr 28, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - Hisashi Iwakuma tries to bounce back from his first loss of the season on Sunday when the Seattle Mariners close out a four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field.

Iwakuma was defeated by Houston on Tuesday, as the Japanese right-hander surrendered three runs (2 earned) and six hits in five innings, dropping him to 2-1 on the year, while raising his ERA to a still-respectable 1.99.

He also struck out 11, despite still being bothered by a blister.

"It's still an issue," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "We'll have to make his next start on regular rest, then after that we'll have an opportunity to maybe give him a couple days, working with the off days."

Iwakuma should get himself back on the right track Sunday, as he is a perfect 4-0 lifetime versus the Angels with a 1.23 ERA in five games (4 starts).

He'll be trying to match to strong effort on Saturday from Felix Hernandez that pushed Seattle to the verge of its first series win of the season. Hernandez pitched eight strong frames and retired the final 14 batters he faced to lead the Mariners to a 3-2 win.

"Felix was outstanding today. He stayed in his delivery, used all of his, pitches, pitched well when he was ahead and pitched well when he was behind," Wedge said. "It was just a great effort."

Jesus Montero hit a two-run homer in the win, while Kendrys Morales added a pinch-hit RBI single to give Seattle its second victory in three games in this series

Kyle Seager also extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games and scored the winning run.

Joe Blanton exited after giving up nine hits and four walks over six-plus frames. He also had five strikeouts.

Chris Iannetta homered to lead off the third inning and Mike Trout lifted a sacrifice fly later in the inning for the Angels, who lost for the third time in four games.

Getting the call for the Angels on Sunday will be lefty Jason Vargas, who is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA. Vargas did not get a decision on Tuesday against Texas, but surrendered three runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win.

Vargas, of course, pitched the last four seasons in Seattle before the Mariners traded him to L.A. this past offseason for Morales.

"Baseball changes quick, man," Vargas said. "To be able to be a part of this (with Los Angeles), you couldn't ask for a better situation. Things happen the way they happen."

The Angels were 11-8 against the Mariners last season.

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