(SportsNetwork.com) - Hisashi Iwakuma tries to continue his mastery of the Minnesota Twins on Monday when the Seattle Mariners play the first of four games against them at Safeco FIeld.
Iwakuma has faced the Twins four times and has beaten them each time, while not allowing am earned run in 26 2/3 innings. He's also struck out 24 batters in those four starts and has held the Twins to just a .168 average.
The Japanese right-hander has been a bit inconsistent this season, but comes in on a high note after topping the Houston Astros his last time out. Iwakuma gave up a run and seven hits and struck out seven in six innings of that one to improve to 6-4, while lowering his ERA to 3.33.
"I didn't walk anybody. I was commanding the fastball better than I did in the last two starts," Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. "I was very aggressive attacking the strike zone and that helped me a lot."
Seattle lost two of three this past weekend to the Chicago White Sox, falling in Sunday's rubber match, 1-0.
Taijuan Walker (1-1) gave up a run on two hits and five walks over four frames for the Mariners, who had won four in a row coming into the set.
"I just really got to find the fastball. That's my best pitch, I just got to watch film, lock in and try to figure out what's going on," Walker said.
Minnesota, meanwhile, dropped three of four to the New York Yankees over the weekend, but did not go down without a fight on Sunday. The Twins fell behind nine runs in the finale, but got within two and had the winning run at the plate in the ninth inning before losing, 9-7.
It was a brief outing for Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco (5-7), who was tagged for six runs on seven hits in two innings.
"They hit everything (Nolasco) threw up there. Probably talk to him about it and find out what his thoughts were, but we got to do better than that," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire.
Hoping for a better effort on Monday the Twins will rely on righty Kevin Correia, who is 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA. Correia lost his second straight start on Wednesday to Kansas City, but pitched well, giving up just two runs in six innings.
"Kevin gave us an opportunity," Gardenhire said. "His pitch count got high, but he hung in there. He got through six innings and gave us an opportunity to win."
Correia is 0-2 in five games (4 starts) versus the Mariners with a 6.65 ERA.
The Twins took two of three games from the Mariners at Target Field when the clubs met from May 16-18.