Iwakuma Struggles As Mariners Fall 12-1 To Cubs

Sarah Trotto, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma was in tough shape, even before his first pitch.

The Seattle right-hander said his arm felt tight during his pre-game bullpen and even though he was able to get loose, he struggled with command as the Chicago Cubs routed the Mariners 12-1 Friday.

“I’m OK, though. I just couldn’t keep the ball down,” Iwakuma said through a translator.

Iwakuma (11-7) had won his last five starts, but gave up five runs and eight hits in three innings.

“I don’t think it’s anything to be alarmed about, just took him awhile to get loose today, wasn’t on top of his game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve seen him come out slow in the past and be able to make an adjustment, but not today.”

Jon Lester recovered from a rut of bad starts, pitching six shutout innings for the Cubs’ third straight win.

Jason Heyward and David Ross homered as the NL Central leaders won for the 10th time in 15 games.

“That’s a bad day. It’s unfortunate. We got to get better playing in these day games,” Servais said.

Seattle lost in its first trip to Wrigley Field since 2007. The Mariners let infielder Luis Sardinas pitch the eighth, and he threw a perfect inning.

“When you’re down like that, it’s about the next day’s game,” Servais said of conserving his bullpen. “Don’t want to do it, don’t like doing it, but sometimes the game calls for it.”

Lester (11-4) had lasted just 16 innings over his previous four starts, going 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA. That skid came after he had gone 9-3 with a 2.03 ERA in his first 16 starts.

Lester gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked two. He was already done when there was a 74-minute rain delay in the seventh.

“The guys swung the bats really well,” Lester said. “I try to always tell them, 12 runs and an airtight defense makes a pitcher’s job a lot easier, so that was good today.”

Mike Montgomery, traded last week from Seattle to the Cubs, pitched the final two innings. He gave up a single to Shawn O’Malley in the ninth for the Mariners’ run.

The Cubs already led 5-0 when they scored six times in the sixth inning, with Anthony Rizzo hitting a three-run double.

Heyward hit his first homer since June 11 and drove in three runs. He had been just 5 for 45 in his last 13 games.

Kris Bryant reached base all five times he came up for the Cubs. He singled twice, doubled and walked twice.

Sardinas, who played for Texas and Milwaukee the past two seasons, moved from first base to the mound and retired the Cubs on eight pitches.

“Tremendous job, threw the ball downhill, little breaking ball,” Servais said.

HOMECOMING

Servais, who played for the Cubs during four seasons, checked out the Wrigley renovations.

“It’s about as nice as you can get,” he said. “The visitors’ side, it’s probably about as tight as you can get. That’s just the way it is. They use it as a home-field advantage. But we’re excited to be here. A lot of our guys haven’t been here before.”

NEWCOMER

Seattle’s Guillermo Heredia made his major league debut when he went to right field in the seventh. He struck out in the eighth. The Mariners recalled him from Triple-A Tacoma before the game and optioned LHP David Rollins.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: RF Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup after fouling a ball off his shin Tuesday. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.

UP NEXT

Mariners: It’s been a streaky season for LHP Wade Miley (6-8, 5.23). He lost his first two decisions, won his next six and has lost his last six starts.

Cubs: Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.76) is 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four July starts. He has allowed 20 earned runs over his last five starts after giving up 19 over his first 15 starts.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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