Iwakuma throws 2 perfect innings, Mariners beat Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma, who missed 10 weeks last season with a strained right lat, pitched two spotless innings in his first spring outing as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 7-3 Sunday.
Iwakuma logged four groundball outs.
“That’s my game,” Iwakuma said through a translator. “I was able to execute my pitches and they put the ball on the ground, so it worked out well.”
Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee, who hit 32 home runs last year and had 323 home runs in 15 years in Japan and Korea, made his initial Mariners start as the designated hitter, walking and grounding out twice.
Right-hander Nick Tepesch, a Rangers rotation candidate, yielded three runs on four hits and two walks in two innings.
“It’s hard to be successful when you’re constantly falling behind and trying to get back in the counts,” Tepesch said. “The biggest thing for me was not getting ahead early and putting guys away and having to fight and claw my way back into the count. I just didn’t make enough good pitches early on in the counts.”
Mariners: Iwakuma was efficient, throwing 23 pitches, 17 for strikes. “It was my first game in a long time and I just wanted to get back in the groove and get a feel for every pitch,” Iwakuma said. “I felt like I was able to command every pitch on each corner where I wanted to. Overall, I think I passed the test. Yeah, it was good.”
Rangers: Tepesch had elbow surgery last August which limited him to 22 starts in 2015. “I feel healthy,” Tepesch said. “Early on that is the most important thing, but at the same time I’ve got to worry about the results a little more too.” The Mariners stole four bases with Tepesch on the mound. “I was trying to mix my looks up and hold the ball,” Tepesch said. “I guess I wasn’t doing a very good job of that.”
CHOO NO MING
RF Shin-Soo Choo suited up as Yao Ming in a Rockets uniform with head band in the Rangers’ free throwing shooting tournament, but lost to C Chris Gimenez. Ming was an 83.3 percent free throw shooter in his NBA career.
Rangers LHP Martin Perez, who made 14 starts last season after returning from 2014 Tommy John surgery, threw three scoreless innings in a ‘B’ game 5-3 victory over the White Sox. Perez allowed two singles, walked one and hit a batter with his fastball touching 94 mph. LF Ryan Rua went 4 for 4 with a double and RBI. OF Justin Ruggaino played first base for the first time in his career.
Mariners: Stefen Romero played the final four innings in right, his first action since Thursday when he suffered a right knee bone bruise. He went 1 for 2 with a RBI-single.
Rangers: RHP Jeremy Guthrie has received clearance after lower back stiffness and will pitch this week.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton will start against the Diamondbacks after not giving up a hit in two innings against the Padres in his first appearance.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis, who threw two scoreless innings against the Royals in his first game, will start against the Giants.
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