SEATTLE (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma will get one more start to try and find the pitching form that made the Seattle right-hander a first-time All-Star this season.
For the fifth straight start Tuesday night, Iwakuma was far from his best.
“For the most part I was missing location-wise,” Iwakuma said through a translator. “I caught too much of the fat part of the plate. That was the main issue today.”
Iwakuma gave up six runs in just three innings, then watched as the Boston Red Sox got homers from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Shane Victorino to rally for an 11-8 win over the Mariners that snapped a three-game skid.
Boston hit five homers in all and overcame an early 5-1 deficit, using two-run homers from Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli along with Bradley’s solo shot to come back against the Mariners. Pedroia and Napoli homered in the third inning off Iwakuma, and Bradley gave Boston the lead in the fifth. Victorino’s drive was part of a three-run eighth.
It was the shortest start of Iwakuma’s career, continuing a recent stretch of rough outings. In his first 14 starts this year, he was 7-1 with a 1.79 ERA, allowing 10 home runs and 22 earned runs. In his last five starts his ERA has ballooned to 6.83. He has given up 10 homers and 22 earned runs during the winless span.
It’s a stunning switch after Iwakuma was one of the most dominant starters in the American League during the first two months of the season. Boston sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times in the third against Iwakuma, highlighted by two-run homers from Pedroia and Napoli, sandwiched around a double from David Ortiz that missed clearing the fence by only a couple of feet.
Pedroia added an RBI single in the fourth and Bradley gave the Red Sox the lead when he hit a hanging curveball from Blake Beavan (0-2) to right-center for his second homer. Bradley was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day to help provide depth in the outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury (wrist) and Victorino (hamstring) nursing nagging injuries.
Iwakuma believes the problem is mechanical and can be fixed quickly. The Mariners would like it to come on Sunday when he’ll make his final start before the All-Star break.
“It’s not just one pitch, but everything in general,” Iwakuma said. “I’m just having a hard time locating in and out. My pitches are a little up in the zone as well the last couple of starts.”
Iwakuma wasn’t alone in getting knocked around by Boston. Beavan gave up two runs in two innings and Charlie Furbush also was tagged for a pair of runs.
“Guys struggled in the bullpen. Just one of those days,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “But when they put their middle-inning guys in, they did a nice job and got them deep in the game.”
Boston did get stellar bullpen work from Alfredo Aceves, Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey, who kept the Mariners scoreless for 4 2-3 innings after starter Allen Webster was roughed up for seven earned runs in 2 1-3 innings.
Seattle got a run off Junichi Tazawa in the eighth, but Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his sixth save. Breslow (3-2) got the victory after throwing 2 1-3 innings.
“Those four innings in the middle of the game were the key to stabilizing it for us,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We fell behind early, our offense bails us out through the course of the night.”
Seattle was just as potent early against the Red Sox, with Kendrys Morales going deep twice and Seattle building a 5-1 lead after Brad Miller’s three-run double in the second.
Morales’ two-run shot in the first was thanks to the hustle of Raul Ibanez beating out a potential double play and extending the inning. Morales added a homer on the first pitch of the third inning and Seattle got an RBI triple from Michael Saunders, but the Mariners left runners at the corners in the fourth and never threatened again until the eighth.
Ortiz had four hits — including a solo home run in the second off Iwakuma — to give him 1,688 hits as a designated hitter, tying Harold Baines for the career record. Ortiz doubled twice and singled in the eighth.
“It means I’m getting old, man. You’ve got to play for a while to put numbers together,” Ortiz said. “But I’m really thankful. I’m really glad to be able to come through for the ballclub.”
NOTES: Boston hit five homers in a game for the second time this season. The Red Sox season high is six against Toronto on April 7. … Seattle scored in the final five innings on Monday and first three innings on Tuesday. The eight straight innings with a run set a club record. … The Red Sox placed reliever Alex Wilson on the 15-day DL with a thumb injury. He returned to Boston for further examination.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.