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Iwakuma loses 1st game in 10 starts as A’s top Mariners

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POSTED June 17, 2013 12:59 a.m.

OAKLAND  (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma has been so good for so long that Sunday’s outing seems like some sort of aberration.

Iwakuma lost for the first time since April 23 as the Seattle Mariners dropped a 10-2 decision to the Oakland Athletics.

“He’s not going to be perfect every time,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “This was a tough outing for him. And we were still in the ballgame. We just needed to come back after they scored their second set of runs. We just didn’t have an answer.”

Iwakuma (7-2) gave up four runs — just the second time he’s allowed more than three runs in a game — on a season high-tying eight hits. He went five innings, matching his season low, walking three and striking out three.

Iwakuma’s streak of not allowing an earned run was stopped at 31 2-3 innings, second longest in Mariners’ history to Mark Langston’s 34-inning streak in 1988.

“You guys could see that the pitches they hit were up in the strike zone,” Iwakuma said. “That was the adjustment I couldn’t make. They were being very aggressive early in the count and that’s what got me.”

The outing also ended the Mariners starter’s streak of eight straight quality starts, including allowing one run or less in seven of those games. Seattle starters had allowed two earned runs in their last 48 innings before the A’s scored in the fourth.

“You have to be patient as a starter,” Iwakuma said. “You know runs will be tough against a pitcher like Bartolo Colon, but I was not able to come through in tough situations.”

Endy Chavez had two hits and drove in two runs for the Mariners, who were looking for their first sweep of the season.

Michael Morse, Jason Bay and Mike Zunino each singled to open the second inning for Seattle. After Colon struck out Brendan Ryan, Chavez delivered a two-run single. Nick Franklin singled to reload the bases, but Kyle Seager’s laser shot to right field was caught just above the grass by Josh Reddick and Kendrys Morales flew out to left.

“That was a great play. Seager couldn’t hit that ball any harder,” Wedge said. “He hit it so hard it stayed up for Reddick to get it. He’s got a great arm, too, so that was a tough one there.”

Iwakuma allowed his first earned run since May 26 when the A’s got to him in the fourth. Josh Donaldson and Seth Smith hit back-to-back doubles to open the inning and Reddick, who had four hits, followed with an RBI single.

“I had a feeling about it as I was running in and watching it sink,” Reddick said. “I shoestringed it and was kind of lucky because the ball was moving.”

Colon said the catch gave him new life.

“I did feel tired during the second inning and was just trying to find a way to get through it,” Colon said. “All I can say is that was the best play. I felt, ‘Wow’ and was ready to get the next guys out.”

That catch, with the bases loaded and two runs already in, became the impetus for A’s pitchers to face the minimum 23 batters the rest of the way, with a pair of double plays erasing the lone baserunners.

“He made several good plays,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “That play probably had a lot to do with getting the momentum back and allowing Bartolo to get his second wind.”

Colon (9-2) allowed two runs on eight hits over seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out three to extend his home win streak to seven.

“Today could have gotten away from him early,” Donaldson said. “Reddick made that nice catch and it kind of picked him up. Bartolo is a never-say-die guy anyway. You know he’s going to come back and throw strikes.”

Notes: Mariners LHP prospect Danny Hultzen (rotator cuff strain) remains at extended spring training. The former first-round draft pick last appeared in a game on April 19 with Triple-A Tacoma. Manager Eric Wedge said before the game that Hultzen would remain in Peoria while he continues to build arm strength. ... INF Justin Smoak (strained right oblique) could return to the Mariners lineup as early as Monday night in Anaheim. ... RHP Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. He threw a two-hit shutout in his last start.

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