The run scoring continued, but the winning did not.
The Seattle Mariners have looked nothing like their soft-swinging, three-run scoring selves in the past week. Tuesday night, they banged out 13 hits and scored eight runs.
But it didn’t translate into a win.
The Mariners’ pitching staff couldn’t do anything with the wealth of run support, giving up 16 hits and five homers in an 11-8 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the Mariners’ loss was the continued struggles of starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and the growing number of home runs opponents hit off him.
Despite being named to the team Saturday, Iwakuma pitched nothing like his All-Star status against the hard-hitting Red Sox.
He made it three innings — the shortest start of his major league career – giving up six runs on eight hits, including three home
runs, with three strikeouts.
It’s a disturbing trend.
Over his past five starts, Iwakuma has posted a 0-3 record. In 29 innings, he’s given up 22 runs on 33 hits with 10 homers. For the season, he’s given up 20 homers, which is the third most by a pitcher in the American League.
So what’s the problem?
“It was just some bad misses,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “The home run has really hurt him in the last four or five starts. He was just missing up in the middle of the plate.”
Iwakuma worked a 1-2-3 first inning and everything seemed normal. The Mariners even gave him an early lead. Kendrys Morales hit his first of two homers on the night, crushing a two-run home run into the bullpen in left-center off starter Allen Webster.
It didn’t matter.
Iwakuma gave up a lead-off homer to David Ortiz in the second and surrendered two more hits before getting out of the inning with a strikeout.
Perhaps sensing Iwakuma didn’t have his best stuff, the Mariners picked him up by pushing three more runs across off Webster in the second inning. Rookie shortstop Brad Miller continued his dynamic play, lacing a base-loaded, three-run double to right.
Still, even with a 5-1 lead Iwakuma couldn’t make it stand up.
He fell apart in the third inning, giving up two-run homers — to Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli — and a sacrifice fly, and putting the Mariners behind, 6-5.
“Tonight I thought he was a little flat,” Wedge said. “He didn’t seem to have quite the same end on his pitches that we’ve seen.”
But since the Mariners have turned into an offensive juggernaut in the past week, Seattle retook the lead. Morales blasted a solo homer to center — his 13th of the season — off Webster to tie the game. Later in the inning, Michael Saunders hit a triple to right-center to score Kyle Seager to retake a 7-6 lead.
Wedge went to his bullpen in hopes of stopping the Boston offense. It couldn’t.
The Red Sox tied the game in the fourth off Blake Beavan on an RBI single from Pedroia. They took the lead in the fifth inning on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s solo home run to right-center off Beavan.
Meanwhile, the Mariners bats’ were finally stymied. They went scoreless in the fourth inning — the first time in eight innings they hadn’t scored a run. The drought continued that way until the bottom of the eighth inning when they scratched across a run on a fielder’s choice by Miller.
By then it was too late because in the top half of the eighth the Red Sox scored three runs on a Shane Victorino solo homer off Charlie Furbush and a pair of RBI singles off Carter Capps.
“We just couldn’t get anybody out and our guys struggled into the bullpen,” Wedge said. ‘Their starter struggled, too, but when they went to their middle innings guys, they did a nice job and got them deeper in the ballgame.”
Ortiz went 4-for-5 and notched his 1,688 hit as a designated hitter, tying Harold Baines for the all-time record.
Morales was 3-for-5 with the two homers. Miller was 3-for-5 with four RBI and Seager and Saunders added two hits each.
“There’s a lot of encouraging things for us offensively now,” Wedge said. “That’s the positive you take out of it.”Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish