After ending their recent woes in the opener against the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners look to piece together wins for the first time since the beginning of the season.
Hisashi Iwakuma will try to help by adding to his splendid start and becoming the latest pitcher to defeat the struggling Astros on Tuesday night.
Seattle (8-13) was outscored 24-12 while dropping its final two games against Houston at Safeco Field from April 9-10 but wasted little time jumping on the Astros in a 7-1 victory at Minute Maid Park on Monday. Kyle Seager's homer in the third inning gave the Mariners a 3-0 lead, and Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales also went deep as Seattle matched its home run total from the previous 10 games.
Seager is batting .381 (16 for 42) with seven doubles, two homers and eight RBIs during a career-best 11-game hit streak.
Iwakuma (2-0, 1.69 ERA) will try to continue his hot start in his first look at the Astros (5-14), who have lost eight of nine and are off to their worst start since opening 4-20 in 1969.
"It's tough,' Carlos Pena said. "We take pride in what we do, and every time we lose it eats away a little piece of us - there's no doubt about that."
Iwakuma will attempt to help Seattle earn back-to-back victories for the first time since its 2-0 start.
The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings while pitching opposite Detroit ace Justin Verlander on Thursday, but had to leave after developing a blister on his right middle finger and did not get a decision in a 2-0 victory.
"It is what it is," Iwakuma told the team's official website through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "There's nothing much we can do about it. Just keeping the team in the ballgame is all I can do and just dealing with the situation is all I have to think about right now.
"I need to continue what I'm doing right now and run with it, because I'm having a good start and I'll do anything to help the team. That's the priority."
Iwakuma will pitch opposite Bud Norris, who is looking to bounce back from the worst start of his career. Norris (2-2, 4.74) only recorded two outs Wednesday at Oakland, getting tagged for six runs in a 7-5 loss.
"I don't know what to say,' said Norris, who gave up five hits and three walks in his 46 pitches. "I felt good but they were finding holes. It wasn't my day."
Norris has never faced the Mariners, and Raul Ibanez is only Seattle player to get more than one hit off the right-hander, going 3 for 12 with two doubles.
Pena and Chris Carter are the only Houston hitters to have faced Iwakuma, both going 0 for 2.
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