Hisashi Iwakuma has looked the part of an All-Star for most of the year, but he's slipped recently.
Iwakuma (7-3, 2.42 ERA) last won June 10, which he followed with two straight defeats. He'd be trying to end a three-game losing streak if Seattle's offense hadn't bailed him out with a late comeback in Friday's 5-4 win over the Cubs.
While the right-hander did throw eight innings - the ninth time in 11 outings he's gone at least seven - he was also charged with four earned runs for the third straight contest. The only time he gave up four or more runs in his previous 14 starts was when he allowed five at Cleveland on May 20.
Solo home runs given up by Iwakuma accounted for two of Chicago's four runs against him.
"Besides the two home runs I gave up - they were to the fat part of the plate - overall I thought it was good," he said through a translator.
But three homers also accounted for all four of Oakland's runs off Iwakuma one start earlier. He had allowed a total of five home runs in his previous six starts.
Seattle would likely be happy if they saw the same Iwakuma that helped them beat the Rangers in two starts earlier this season. He went 1-0 while allowing three runs and eight hits over 14 2-3 innings in those games, striking out 14.
A two-run homer from Kyle Seager was the difference in Seattle's 4-2 victory in 10 innings Wednesday, bringing the Mariners (37-47) within one win of their first sweep of a series of three games or more at Texas since April 12-15, 2002.
Looking to keep the Rangers (48-36) from being swept at home for the second time this season will be Martin Perez (2-1, 2.37). The left-hander won his second straight start in a 4-0 victory over Cincinnati on Friday, throwing 6 2-3 innings. He limited St. Louis to two runs and five hits over seven innings in his previous start.
Perez seemingly locked up a spot in Texas' rotation in spring training before breaking his forearm. The 22-year-old now seems to be seizing the moment after being called up from the minors for a second time this year.
"Throwing strikes, pounding the strike zone, not getting caught in any patterns, great mound presence. All of the above," manager Ron Washington said. "He's doing everything he's supposed to do to be successful."
He gave up four runs - three earned - with six hits and two walks in four innings of a 6-3 loss in Seattle on Sept. 21, but also threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings over two relief appearances earlier last season.
Seager is 6 for 13 in his last three games after going 3 for 5 on Wednesday but is hitless in five at-bats against Perez.
Ian Kinsler , who homered Wednesday for the first time in 24 contests, is 6 for 12 off Iwakuma with three home runs.
Texas DH Lance Berkman was 1 for 4 in his first game after missing four with a sore right knee.
|June 29, 2013||Dustin Ackley||Day-to-Day||Left game - thumb|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|June 21, 2013||Michael Morse||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|June 18, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Sore right quad|
|June 08, 2013||Kendrys Morales||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|June 13, 2013||Jeff Baker||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|June 07, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 07, 2013||Michael Kirkman||60-Day DL||Cutaneous lymphoma in right triceps|
|June 06, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 06, 2013||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Two big swings from Adrian Beltre helped the Texas Rangers snap out of their offensive funk.
The All-Star slugger went deep twice and the Rangers used a four-run seventh inning to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Thursday night.
Texas hadn't scored more than four runs in the last six games and was outscored 13-4 in losing the first two of the series against the Mariners.
Beltre hit a solo shot in the second and another in the seventh for his 24th career multihomer game. He finished with three hits and two RBIs.
"I think the last couple of days we haven't been able to get the big hit," he said. "Obviously, that's what you're looking for when you hit in the middle of the lineup. Today was a better day, even though it was late."
With Texas trailing 3-1, Beltre led off the seventh with a drive to center against Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4). A.J. Pierzynski then singled and Lance Berkman walked before Mitch Moreland bounced a tying single up the middle against Charlie Furbush .
Elvis Andrus came up with a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Ian Kinsler capped the big inning with an RBI single.
Texas manager Ron Washington said before the game that he hoped his team would improve with runners in scoring position. He eventually got his wish.
"That's exciting when you can run the bases," Washington said.
Josh Lindblom (1-2) recorded the final two outs of the seventh to pick up his first win since Aug. 31.
Raul Ibanez homered for the Mariners, belting a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh. It was his 12th homer in his last 28 games, lifting the total for the 41-year-old slugger to 21 for the year.
Iwakuma, who came in leading the AL in ERA, allowed four runs and five hits in six innings. The Japanese right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in his last four starts.
Ibanez went 4 for 5 with three RBIs and Kyle Seager added three hits for the Mariners, who were trying for their first series sweep at Texas since 2002.
The Mariners had 14 hits, but went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.
"We've got to do better with guys on base," said Ibanez, who had his first four-hit game since June 8, 2010. "This is a place where you feel no lead is safe. When you're playing against them, you know they are going to score runs."
Ibanez hit an RBI single off Tanner Scheppers in the eighth to get Seattle within one, but Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 28th save in 29 chances.
Beltre led off the second with his first home run since June 9.
"(Beltre) shows up every day and he not only comes to do his job, he comes to beat the opponent," Washington said. "He battles every single day and he makes everyone around him better."
The Mariners tied it with an unearned run in the sixth. Seager and Justin Smoak singled leading off the inning, and Seager scored on a throwing error by second baseman Kinsler, snapping Martin Perez 's scoreless stretch at 16 2-3 innings.
Perez allowed an unearned run in 5 1-3 innings. The 22-year-old rookie gave up eight hits, struck out four and walked two in his fourth start of the season.
NOTES: Andrus was dropped to the eighth spot in the lineup. The All-Star shortstop is batting .196 since June 1. "I'm still in the lineup and I'll do my best to help the team win," Andrus said. . Seattle manager Eric Wedge said that OF Michael Saunders (right finger) will start Friday when the Mariners play the Cincinnati Reds . Saunders was out of the starting lineup for a sixth straight game. ... Beltre passed Joe DiMaggio for 75th on the career list with 362 home runs.