By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
BALTIMORE — Hisashi Iwakuma failed to tie a franchise record Sunday when the Seattle Mariners’ run-starved attack victimized him in a way that had never happened before.
A 1-0 loss to Baltimore ended Iwakuma’s bid to stretch his road winning streak to 10 games, which would have matched Freddy Garcia’s club record in 2000-01.
Iwakuma’s streak ended even though he allowed just one run in 72/3 innings. It marked the 18th time in his career when he has pitched at least seven innings while allowing one or no runs.
He was 13-0 with four no-decisions on the 17 previous occasions.
“He threw a great ballgame,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He made one mistake, and it cost him.”
That mistake was a split-finger fastball on a full court to the first hitter that Iwakuma faced: Nick Markakis, who led off for the Orioles in the first inning.
“I would have liked it down a little more,” catcher Mike Zunino said. “He left it up a hair.”
And Markakis hit it out to deep right.
Iwakuma was 9-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his previous 14 road starts, including 5-0 and 3.09 this season in seven starts. (His ERA actually went down for those two spans; it’s now 9-1 and 2.10 in 15, and 5-1 and 2.82 in eight.)
Garcia had 10-game road winning streak over 18 starts from April 16, 2000 until a 6-3 loss on July 19, 2001 at Kansas City.
Iwakuma remains tied for second on the list with Jaime Moyer, who had a nine-game streak over 10 starts from July 25, 1999 until a 13-6 loss on Aug. 6, 2000 to the New York Yankees.
This stat gem comes from the stat pros at the Elias Sports Bureau: Robinson Cano entered Sunday with an average of .361 and a slugging percentage of .586 in 321 at-bats over 78 career games at Camden Yards.
Those are the top totals for any visiting player with at least 200 at-bats since the park opened in 1992.
“Somebody asked me earlier is I see the ball good (in this park) or something,” he said. “It’s just one of those ballparks I’ve been successful in. But it’s nothing special about this ballpark.”
Cano then went 1-for-3 with a walk in Sunday’s loss. He was the only Mariners player to reach base more than once.
Outfielder Michael Saunders is slotted for a rigorous on-field workout Tuesday to determine his recovery from a strained left oblique that occurred on a swing July 10 against Minnesota.
In particular, the Mariners want to see how he reacts in outfield drills.
“His throwing is controlled right now,” McClendon said. “He needs to take a full outfield — different angles, on the line and in the gap, throw to the bases, spin and turn. We’ll find out.”
Saunders took part in batting practice while accompanying the club on its trip to Cleveland and Baltimore. He is batting .276 with six homers and 28 RBI in 65 games.
“My hope,” McClendon said, “is later in the week to have him go out (on a rehab assignment) as a DH. We’ll see how it goes.”
The Mariners have 24 come-from-behind victories after rallying Saturday to beat the Orioles 6-3. They had 27 for all of 2013. … Robinson Cano’s 10 game-winning RBI lead the Mariners and ranked fourth, entering Sunday, in the American League …. The Mariners are 16-16-5 in series. … The Mariners have used 101 lineups in their 111 games.
It was nine years ago Monday — August 4, 2005 — that right-hander Felix Hernandez made his major-league debut by allowing one earned run in five innings in a 3-1 loss at Detroit.
Hernandez was 19 years and 118 days old.
It as 34 years ago Monday — August 4, 1980 — that the Mariners hired Maury Wills as the second manager in franchise history. He replaced Darrell Johnson, and it was a disaster.
The Mariners were 26-56 under Wills before he was fired 24 games into the 1981 season.
The Mariners have an open date Monday before opening a nine-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday with the first of two games against Atlanta at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-3 with a 2.01 ERA) will oppose Braves lefty Alex Wood (7-8 and 3.30). Root Sports will broadcast the game.
The series against the Braves concludes at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday. The Chicago White Sox arrive Thursday for four games before the homestand concludes next week with three games against Toronto.