SEATTLE (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma was impressed with his likeness on the bobblehead the Seattle Mariners handed out on Saturday night.
The fans who got them were likely more impressed with the real version on the mound.
Iwakuma pitched a career-high 8 2-3 innings, and Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano homered to lift the Mariners to a 6-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Iwakuma fanned five of the first six batters he retired en route to eight strikeouts overall. The right-hander allowed five hits and faced the minimum in all but three innings.
After giving up a single to start the ninth, the right-hander retired two straight, but Brandon Moss’ two-run home run chased him from the game, one out shy of his first complete game. It also snapped his 20-inning scoreless streak, the longest by a Mariners pitcher this season.
It was the 12th time in 63 career starts that Iwakuma pitched at least eight innings.
“Just looking at the numbers today, the results today, I’m very happy with that,” Iwakuma said. “Having that being on the bobblehead day is special. We have a lot of fans out there, very electric out there.
“The last game of the first half (for me), I wanted to finish strong. I’m glad that I did finish strong.”
In his last three starts, Iwakuma is 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA (3 earned runs in 21 2-3 innings), 25 strikeouts and no walks. Brandon Moss’ two-out, two-run home run off Iwakuma in the ninth.
The successful stretch follows a forgetful two games in which Iwakuma allowed a combined 10 runs.
“I think one of the things that probably hurt him a little bit is his game planning,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Not so much on his part, but on my part. Might have become a little bit predictable.
“He’s got a nice mix, he’s in and out, he’s up and down, he’s using all his pitches. I think that makes him pretty tough.”
Seager’s fifth-inning home run — a two-run shot — was his 15th of the season, and 13th at Safeco Field. His 42 RBIs in 47 home games leads the American League.
Cano’s ninth-inning, three-run home run was his seventh of the season, and gave the Mariners a 6-0 lead.
Dustin Ackley gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the second with a single that scored Corey Hart from second. Hart came within feet of hitting a home run, but the ball caromed off the top of the wall in left-center field, and the Seattle designated hitter settled for a double.
Oakland starter Jesse Chavez allowed three runs and a career-high 10 hits. He walked two and struck out six in 5 2-3 innings.
“I felt a little bit mechanically off as far as my landing,” Chavez said. “I wasn’t able to get on my front side a little more, which caused a lot of balls to be inside, and then having to get back even in the count having to come back over the plate, which is usually something I don’t do ’til I need to.”
A’s left fielder Yoenis Cespedes threw out Willie Bloomquist trying to score from second in the eighth. It was Cespedes’ major league-leading 11th outfield assist this year, and his 30th since 2012.
NOTES: Oakland’s Stephen Vogt extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the sixth. … Oakland OF Josh Reddick (strained right knee) is scheduled to start playing rehab games in the next couple days. … Oakland LHP Drew Pomeranz (broken right hand) allowed a run and one hit, and struck out seven in four innings during a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento. … Seattle LHP James Paxton (shoulder soreness) threw a three-inning simulated game and is expected to start for Single-A Everett on Thursday. … Seattle’s Chris Young and Oakland’s Sonny Gray will face off Sunday in the series finale.
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