Making his final start of the season, Hisashi Iwakuma tossed eight scoreless innings as the Mariners defeated Kansas City 6-0 Wednesday night at Safeco Field for their second shutout in as many nights. It marked the first time that Seattle has posted back-to-back blankings since April 21-22, 2011 vs. Oakland.
Catcher Mike Zunino hit two home runs, Michael Saunders also went deep and Kyle Seager added a two-run double as the Mariners won for the third time in four games and eliminated the Royals from the wild card race.
Zunino and Saunders hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, the 14th time this season the Mariners have hit consecutive homers.
In helping the Mariners (70-89) avoid their 90th loss, Iwakuma (14-6) finished his season without allowing a run in three straight starts, a streak of 23 scoreless innings. Iwakuma allowed four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk and did not allow more than one baserunner in any inning. Iwakuma finished with a 2.66 ERA, third best in the American League.
“He handcuffed us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Iwakuma. “We couldn’t do anything.”
ARMS: Iwakuma joins Freddy Garcia (2001) as the only pitchers in club history with a pair of streaks of at least 20 consecutive scoreless innings in the same season. Iwakuma is the only MLB pitcher with two streaks of 20 scoreless innings this season.
BATS: Zunino recorded the first multi-home run game of his career . . . Seager’s 56th extra-base hit of the season tied Kendrys Morales for the team lead . . . Nick Franklin, who went 0-for-3, had his career-high eight-game hitting streak snapped.
NOTES: Seattle manager Eric Wedge said before the game he feels like he’s “hanging out there” with little clarity regarding his future with the organization. Wedge’s contract, a three-year deal, expires after the season and Wedge indicated he’s been given no word about whether he’ll return for a fourth year . . . Seattle has hit 183 home runs this year, tied with Toronto for second-most in the major leagues.
NEXT: The Mariners take Thursday off and begin a season-ending, three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field Friday night with a 7:10 p.m. first pitch. RHP Felix Hernandez (12-9, 2.99) will oppose RHP Bartolo Colon (17-6, 92.64) in Friday’s opener, followed by Brandon Maurer Saturday and James Paxton Sunday in the season’s final two games.
Awesome performance by Iwakuma. Let’s see the club get a few more players to support that kind of game next season.