Iwakuma improves in tie against Dodgers

Iwakuma improves in tie against Dodgers

Iwakuma improves in tie against Dodgers
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Young Dodgers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi hurled three scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut, holding the Mariners to just a pair of hits and needing just 26 pitches, as the teams played to a 5-5 tie in a split-squad game for both clubs.

Kyle Seager had a home run and two RBIs for Seattle, which improved to 7-2, and Hisashi Iwakuma gave up two runs and four hits in a much-improved second outing of the spring for the Mariners.

Iwakuma lasted just one inning in his opener Tuesday against the Reds, when he threw 35 pitches while giving up three hits. But the Japanese free agent threw 52 pitches against the Dodgers and looked much sharper, particularly in the early going as he cruised through the first seven batters before catcher Matt Treanor took him deep on a 3-1 fastball.

The Dodgers added another run in the fourth when Trent Oeltjen struck out, but reached base when the third strike got away from catcher Miguel Olivo. James Loney followed with a double and Oeltjen scored on a groundout to short by Juan Uribe.

Iwakuma was in further trouble with a walk to Cory Sullivan and base hit by Josh Fields, but Sullivan got too far off second on the throw to the plate on Fields' single and Seattle wound up tagging Loney at third in the resulting run-down.

Oeltjen was a late fill-in for Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who was scratched due to mild stiffness in his back.

Seager got the Mariners on the board with a home run leading off the fifth against Jamey Wright, who pitched for Seattle last year. It was Seager's second blast of the spring as he battles for the starting third base job.

Seattle scored three times in the sixth to take the lead on doubles by Chone Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki, a sacrifice fly by Justin Smoak and Seager's RBI single.

The Dodgers rallied to tie the game with three runs in top of the eighth, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Josh Fields.

The game had several unusual baserunning situations. Dodgers infielder Justin Sellers was the third out in the third inning when he got hit in the chin by a high hop on a Mark Ellis single through the hole on the right side as he was headed to second.

The Mariners had an odd double play in the fifth when Casper Wells singled on a pop fly that fell into short right field. Michael Saunders was running from first on the play, so he hustled back toward the bag when it appeared the ball would be caught and Wells was ruled out when he passed Saunders while rounding first.

Saunders then turned and ran back to second, where he was tagged out after going past the bag, thinking he'd already been ruled out by the initial baserunning call.

Up next for the Mariners: : Felix Hernandez makes his second Cactus League start, facing the Giants in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Scottsdale, Ariz. Hernandez went three scoreless innings vs. the Reds on Tuesday as he prepares to be the Opening Day starter March 28 in Tokyo vs. the A's. Tom Wilhelmsen, Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, Cesar Jimenez and Steve Delabar are scheduled to pitch in relief.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.