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Single run is all Mariners need as Iwakuma shuts down Astros' offense

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

7/16 vs HOU by TOM HAYDEN

SAFECO FIELD, SEATTLE, WA. ----

The Mariners got away with an impressive 1-0 win over our A.L. West rivals, the now 49-42 Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon in the beautiful Safeco Field. The M's put up only 5 hits, but beat Houston's 4 hits. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma was hands down impressive in this one as he skimmed past what is a young and talented Houston offense. With the win, the M's have jumped to a game above .500 with a W-L record of 46-45. Seattle is now only 8.0 games behind the 55-38 Texas Rangers, and 3.0 games behind these Houston Astros, visiting our Mariners this weekend in Seattle. 

Offensively on Saturday afternoon, the Mariners put up only 5 hits on HOU RHP Lance McCullers and RHP Scott Feldman, but it was all they needed to secure this win. CF Leonys Martin (.249 AVG) contributed with 2 hits on the afternoon as he went 2-3 at the plate. Martin connected for his seventh double of the season and his second triple of the season, both off of McCullers. RF Franklin Gutierrez (.243 AVG) and SS Shawn O'Malley (.231 AVG) each connected for a hit in this one. O'Malley tallied 5 total bases. It was all-star 2B Robinson Canó (.309 AVG) who drove in the winning run, and the only run of the ball game with a ground ball single to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning off of McCullers to score Leonys Martin. With the RBI, Canó now has 59 on the season. 

The story of the game came with the fantastic performance of RHP Hisashi Iwakuma who made his 19th start of the 2016 season on Saturday afternoon. Iwakuma has also been impressive in a few of his previous starts. In fact, Kuma has earned wins in last 3 starts (7/3 vs BAL, 7/8 vs KC, and this one, 7/16 vs HOU). Hisashi went 7.0 innings strong on Saturday afternoon giving up only 2 hits while walking only 1 and striking out 8 Astros. Iwakuma earned his 10th win of the season and now has a W-L record of 10-6 in 19 games, 121.1 innings pitched. His ERA is now a solid 4.01 as well. Relieving Iwakuma were RHP Edwin Diaz (2.41 ERA) and RHP closer Steve Cishek (3.07 ERA). Diaz, who has been impressive since his recall from the minors earlier this season, gave up only 1 hit in 1.0 inning of work on Saturday, while striking out 2 Astros. Diaz earned his 9th hold (H) of the season. Closer Steve Cishek also gave up only 1 hit while striking out a pair of Astros in his 1.0 inning of work. For doing so and closing the door of the single run game, Cishek earned his 22nd save of the season so far, securing this win for the M's. 

WHAT'S NEXT? :

The Mariners will look to capture this series with a win in the rubber match finale set for Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field in Seattle. With the series tied at a game a piece among our Mariners and Astros, a series win is up for grabs on Sunday. It will be LHP Mike Montgomery (3-3, 2.86 ERA) making his second start of the 2016 season as as starter for Seattle. Mike earned a win in his last start (7/10 at KC). Montgomery and the M's will face HOU RHP Collin McHugh (5-6, 4.00 ERA). Be sure to tune into ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio for all of the series finale action. First pitch start time- 1:10 PM PAC, 4:10 PM ET!

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue. 

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