SEATTLE (AP) — While Seattle is playing out the string in another lackluster season, Hisashi Iwakuma is making a case for a spot in the Mariners' rotation next year.
Iwakuma pitched seven solid innings and Miguel Olivo hit a two-run homer to help Seattle beat the short-handed Texas Rangers 6-3 on Friday night.
Iwakuma (7-5), who came over from Japan this winter on a one-year contract, allowed three runs and eight hits, struck out four and walked none. He is 6-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 68 strikeouts as a starter this season.
The right-hander would like to extend his deal and fill a regular spot in the rotation next season.
"He's a veteran guy out there, the way he pitches like an experienced starting pitcher," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He executes pitches and understands certain situations and what type pitch he wants to throw."
Another auditioning player is September callup Carlos Triunfel, who made his first career start at shortstop. He drove in the tiebreaking run in the fourth inning and showed a strong arm in converting three double plays.
"I thought Carlos played a good ballgame," Wedge said. "We had some big double plays there in the eighth and ninth. He made a nice play on a ball in the hole there and got a hit. I thought he played a good ballgame tonight."
Justin Smoak had three hits and scored two runs for Seattle, and Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth to pick up his 28th save in 32 opportunities.
The Rangers were without third baseman Adrian Beltre (stomach) and outfielder Josh Hamilton (sinus/blurred vision). Beltre should be available on Saturday, while Hamilton is out for the weekend series while undergoing tests back in Dallas.
"We're not making it easy on ourselves when two guys like that aren't in the lineup but we have plenty of depth," said David Murphy, who had three hits and three RBIs for the Rangers. "We're still going to battle offensively and do whatever we can to scratch runs across.
"Those are our horses. Between them they have 70-something home runs and 200-plus RBI. It hurts but we're not at the point in the year when we can sit back and dwell on that. We have to keep playing good baseball and keep nailing down wins."
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who had a triple and scored a run, said without Hamilton and Beltre "those guys look a lot different. Those guys make a lot of difference on that team."
Texas remains four games ahead of Oakland in the AL West with 12 games remaining. The A's lost 2-1 in 10 innings against the New York Yankees.