SEATTLE, Washington (AFP) –
Casper Wells’ bases-clearing double scored Japanese stars Ichiro Suzuki and Munenori Kawasaki and lifted the Seattle Mariners to a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Suzuki and Kawasaki also got help from their Japanese compatriot Hisashi Iwakuma who pitched five solid innings in his first Major League Baseball start.
Iwakuma gave up three runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. But he did not get the win as Steve Delabar pitched two perfect innings for the victory at Safeco Field park.
“He has been doing good,” catcher Miguel Olivo said of Iwakuma. “He has a good feel of baseball right now. He is coming back and doing his best.”
Olivo and Dustin Ackley hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning while Brendan Ryan drove in the other run in the first game of a three-game set between the two American League clubs.
The 31-year-old Iwakuma was making his first start in place of injured pitcher Kevin Millwood.
He made just one error, allowing a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Iwakuma was a starter in Japan before signing this season with the Mariners, who had lost five of their last eight games before Monday.
Right fielder Suzuki, who is in his 12th season with Seattle, went zero-for-three at the plate and had one walk and a run, while second baseman Kawasaki batted one-for-three, with one run.
Suzuki worked Baltimore starting pitcher Jason Hammel for a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Wells’ go-ahead double to the right-centre gap in the seventh inning.