Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma survived his early lack of command to go seven innings and earn his first win of the season as the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 8-2 on Tuesday.
"It felt like it took a long time," Iwakuma (1-3) said after making his sixth start. "I've gone against good starting pitchers, and I was also pressing a bit. This first win is a relief."
"I went after hitters to get ahead in counts, and the fielders bailed me out."
Iwakuma allowed one run on four hits, while walking two and striking out three in a win that saw the Mariners take over first place in the American League West.
"Right now we're on a good run, and I'd like to keep that going," he said.
That may have been the plan, but Iwakuma couldn't throw strikes early and had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning. After surrendering a one-out single on a good split-fingered fastball low and away, Iwakuma walked two straight batters to load the bases, but escaped with a groundout.
But from the third, things began to click for Iwakuma as he faced just three batters in each inning until Billy Burns led off the sixth with a single. That inning could have been more trouble, but Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte turned a sweet inning-ending double play.
Countryman Norichika Aoki went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI single from the leadoff spot for the Mariners, who gave their starter the lead on a two-run Leonys Martin homer in the third off tough Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray (3-3).
Robinson Cano homered in the fourth to make it a 3-0 game before the A's got to Iwakuma for a run in the sixth.
In Miami, Ichiro Suzuki's two-run, pinch-hit single brought the Miami Marlins from a run down in the sixth inning as they went on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4.