Iwakuma’s Bad Inning Results In 3-1 Loss
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SEATTLE (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma was cruising along before one bad inning cost him a shot at another victory.
The Mariners’ right-hander had just been given a 1-0 lead on Justin Smoak’s seventh-inning home run. To that point, he had allowed just two hits and, entering the game, was 7-0 in nine starts when he had worked at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer.
Make that now 7-1.
“He pitched a really good game,” Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said. “We felt he was our best guy to send back out there for that eighth inning.”
Mark DeRosa’s pinch-hit, two-run single in the eighth off Oliver Perez provided the Jays and R.A. Dickey (9-11) with the 3-1 victory on Monday night.
Iwakuma (10-5), who pitched 7 1-3 innings, took the loss. He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out two and matched his season high with three walks. Over his past five starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA.
It looked like Smoak’s 11th home run in the seventh would hold up. Since July 1, Smoak is batting .327 with 16 runs, eight doubles, five homers and 13 RBI.
“He definitely had it dancing tonight,” Smoak said of Dickey’s knuckler. “When we did have runners on, we didn’t capitalize on it.
“It (home run pitch) was up. I was swinging. Just happened to catch it at the right time.”
After Smoak’s home run, the Jays responded with their three-run, eighth-inning rally. Brett Lawrie opened with a triple into the right-center gap. He was a home run shy of the cycle. With one out, Jose Reyes lined a RBI single to center, ending Iwakuma’s outing.
Yoervis Medina then complicated the situation for the Mariners, giving up a single to Jose Bautista. Both runners advanced on Medina’s wild pitch. Edward Encarnacion walked to load the bases.
Oliver Perez entered as did DeRosa, who lined his game-winning single to left on an 0-2 pitch. DeRosa is 5-of-14 as a pinch hitter this season with six RBI.
“I always look at the matchup,” DeRosa said. “He prides himself on attacking. There’s a lot of herky-jerky motion. I was just trying to take the lower half out. I knew he’d challenge me. That’s the type of guy he is.”
Dickey went 7 2-3 innings, allowing one run on eight hits. The knuckleballer struck out five and walked two. He won for the first time since July 1.
“He had good stuff,” Thompson said. “He throws a soft knuckleball and one that’s a little harder. He threw a few more fastballs early in the game than we’ve seen in the past. He was tough. He wasn’t a Cy Young Award winner for nothing.”
Dickey added, “I had a good knuckle ball out my hand tonight, but it was certainly about Brett Lawrie tonight. That was fun to watch. His triple, his double, his double play. He was our spark plug tonight. It was good to do that in front of a Canadian crowd. He enjoyed that.”
The game was played before 32,300 fans, the vocal majority of whom were Canadians venturing down the freeway from B.C. Lawrie was born and raised in Langley, British Columbia.
“Besides Canada Day and Opening Day, this was the best atmosphere of the year,” said DeRosa. “No offense to the Rogers Center, but this place was jumping tonight.”
Lawrie soaked it in.
“The last road crowd like that was here last year,” Lawrie said. “Obviously, it’s a positive when the whole crowd is cheering for your team. It’s usually the other team. They picked us up tonight.
“It was just a good energy. You could feel the energy in the building, everyone cheering for the Blue Jays. It was fun to be part of.”
Casey Janssen worked the ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities.
The Mariners put together a rally in the third but Lawrie had a hand in ending it. Humberto Quintero opened with a ground-rule double that bounced over the left-field wall. With one out, Kyle Seager singled to right, as Quintero held at third.
Kendrys Morales then hit a two-hopper to third baseman Lowrie, who dived to his left to stop it. From his knees, he started a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
“I thought of looking back to third to see where he was but I wanted to get rid of it because knew he (Morales) was a slow runner,” Lawrie said. “I’ve done that (thrown from knees) a couple times. It’s not too bad. You get a good feel for it after a while.”
It was the first win for the Blue Jays at Safeco since Aug. 17, 2011.
NOTES: Dustin Ackley started at his old position, second base. He had been the team’s regular at that spot but a batting slump and Nick Franklin’s emergence pushed him to the outfield. “They always told me to be ready, just in case. I see why now,” Ackley said. Acting manager Robby Thompson said, “I don’t hesitate for a minute to put him out there.” … Seattle manager Eric Wedge, who suffered a mild stroke July 22 and has missed 13 games, will miss more. There was hope that he could rejoin the team by this homestand but as Thompson said, “he’s doing well. It is a slow process…when that time is, we’re not really sure.” … LHP J.A. Happ was added to the Blue Jays’ roster before the game, replacing RHP Steve Delabar (shoulder), who was placed on the 15-day DL. RHP David Schwimer was designated for assignment to make room for Happ on the 40-man.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.