Mariners' perfect start holds up against Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 18, 2012 - 12:43 AM

The Twins were shut down for four innings before managing hits as Nick Blackburn struggled again.

view larger photos

  

SEATTLE - Two days after tossing the 23rd perfect game in major league history, Felix Hernandez was still the toast of Seattle on Friday, as a local politician named an entire county after him.

King County executive Dow Constantine made an official proclamation, naming it King Felix County for the day, and then Mariners righthander Hisashi Iwakuma opened the evening with his own burst of perfection.

Iwakuma recorded 12 outs before the Twins had a base runner, giving Seattle a streak of 42 consecutive batters retired, stretching to Tuesday. According to the Mariners, it was the majors' longest such streak since at least 1974.

When the Twins finally started reaching base, it was too little, too late with Nick Blackburn pitching, and the Mariners held on for a 5-3 victory at Safeco Field.

Blackburn (4-9) remained winless since June 22, allowing five runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Seattle built a 3-0 lead by the second inning and stretched it to 5-1 in the sixth. The Twins made things interesting at the end, as Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning off righthander Stephen Pryor, but Lucas Luetge retired Justin Morneau for the final out that inning, and Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

"Offensively, we didn't do much," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, after his team fell to 1-7 in its past eight games. "You saw a pretty good closer there. He threw the living fire out of the ball. [Iwakuma] was pretty good, too. He pretty much ate us up for a good amount of the ballgame."

Iwakuma (4-3) held the Twins to one unearned run on four hits over seven innings, showing why the Twins were so enamored with him two winters ago, when he first considered coming over from Japan.

The Twins placed the second highest bid, behind Oakland, who failed to sign the righthander, leaving him in Japan for one more season. Last winter, with Iwakuma dealing with an arm issue, the Twins backed off and he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Seattle that includes up to $3.4 million in performance incentives.

The 31-year-old could be cashing in, as he is 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his past six starts.

Blackburn has struggled across the board this year, but especially in the first inning, allowing 21 runs on 32 hits in 19 starts.

Last Saturday, he fell behind 3-0 in the first inning, as Tampa Bay got home runs from B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce. And Seattle kept the trend going Friday, as John Jaso drilled a two-out, two-run homer over the right field wall, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead.

Miguel Olivo led off the second inning with another home run -- the 23rd homer allowed this season for Blackburn. Just like that, it was 3-0.

"At some point you have to think it's not just bad luck," Blackburn said. "It's tough to have any confidence. I'm still fighting to turn it around, but I don't know what changes to make at this point."

The Twins finally got to Iwakuma in the fifth. Justin Morneau hit a leadoff double, ending the 42-consecutive batter streak, and Matt Carson hit an RBI single that inning. But Iwakuma escaped by retiring Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon and Darin Mastroianni.

"We battled," Gardenhire said. "He just made some pitches. We chased the splitter a couple times in the dirt."

  • related content

  • Carson gets nod over Parmelee

    Friday August 17, 2012

    Matt Carson will help fill in for the time being while Denard Span and Ben Revere recover from injury.

  • Postgame: Plouffe snaps skid one at-bat too late

    Saturday August 18, 2012

    Trevor Plouffe was in an 0-for-20 skid before he singled in the seventh inning. Two innings earlier, he popped up in a key spot.

  • Twins-Seattle game recap

    Friday August 17, 2012

    He held the Twins to one unearned run on four hits over seven innings.

  • Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, right, snags a throw as Minne...

  • Hisashi Iwakuma followed Felix Hernandez's perfect game with four perfect innings of his own.

  • SEATTLE 5, TWINS 3 Up next: 8:10 p.m. today at Seattle TV: FSN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close