Think the Mariners should re-sign pending free-agent Hisashi Iwakuma? Think there’s life left in that 34-year-old arm?
Iwakuma pitched no-hitter Wednesday afternoon in a brilliant 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field. The end came when center fielder Austin Jackson ran down Gerardo Parra’s fly ball.
Iwakuma (4-2) turned in jubilation when Jackson made the catch as his teammates rushed to mob him at the mound. He finished with three walks and seven strikeouts.
The crowd of 25,661 stood and cheered as Iwakuma, at 107 pitches, took the mound in the ninth inning. The roar increased each pitch.
Third baseman Kyle Seager recorded the first out in the ninth with a marvelous running over-the-shoulder catch on David Lough’s foul pop. Manny Machado then grounded to Seager before Parra flied out.
It was the fourth individual no-hitter in the franchise’s 39-year history.
*Randy Johnson beat Detroit 2-0 on June 2, 1990 at the Kingdome.
*Chris Bosio beat Boston 7-0 on April 22, 1993 at the Kingdome.
*Felix Hernandez beat Tampa Bay 1-0 on Aug. 15, 2012 in a perfect game at Safeco Field.
Iwakuma rolled through the first nine hitters before issuing two walks in the fourth. He then retired 10 in a row before starting the eighth inning with a walk to Jonathan Schoop.
Hernandez was the last American League pitcher to throw a no-hitter. There have been 15 no-hitters by National League pitchers since Hernandez’s gem, including four this season.
The only other Japanese-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Hideo Nomo, who had two: Sept. 17, 1996 at Colorado while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers; and April 4, 2001 at Baltimore while pitching for Boston.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman (2-4) pitched around one-out doubles in the first two innings before yielding a pair of two-out runs in the third. He gave up another two-out run in the fourth.
Gausman struck out a career-high eight in his seven innings.
Almost hidden in Iwakuma’s gem was the Mariners won their third straight series for the eighth time in 12 games.
The Mariners wasted Seager’s one-out double in the first when Gausman struck out Franklin Gutierrez and Robinson Cano.
They got the same chance in the second when Jackson sent a one-out drive off the top of the left-center wall. Same result, too. Gausman struck out Mark Trumbo and Brad Miller.
The script changed in third and so did the result.
Ketel Marte drew a one-out walk and, after Seager struck out, went to second on a wild pitch. Gutierrez then lined an RBI double into the left-center gap for a 1-0 lead.
Cano followed with a single through the left side that scored Gutierrez due to a weak throw to the plate by David Lough.
The Orioles didn’t their first runner until Machado opened the fourth inning by working back from an 0-2 hole for a walk.
Iwakuma also walked Chris Davis with two outs but stranded both by striking out Jimmy Paredes.
The Mariners extended their lead to 3-0 later in the fourth on doubles by Jackson and Jesus Sucre.
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