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.
"We want to win every day. Just fact they lose doesn't mean it's a must-win situation," Murphy said. "It would have been nice to shave another game off that (magic number) but bottom line is we're just playing for wins. We're not worried about what they're doing."
Texas starter Martin Perez (1-2) gave up three runs and six hits in four innings. He struck out three, walked two and threw two wild pitches.
The Rangers hurt themselves with a few sloppy plays. The Mariners scored one run on an error by third baseman Michael Young and another on one of Perez's wild pitches.
Murphy hit a tying two-run single in the fourth but the Mariners responded in the bottom half. Triunfel's double down the left-field line scored Casper Wells all the way from first to put Seattle ahead 3-2.
"That was one of those things," said Young, who had the ball bounce over his head. "He made a good pitch and they caught a break right there, a trampoline ball and it worked out well."
Triunfel moved to third on a fielder's choice and scored when Young booted Gutierrez's grounder.
"He hit it hard but it was a routine play," Young said. "I should have come up with that."
Murphy also hit his 14th homer in the sixth.
The Mariners scored in the second and third to take a 2-0 lead. Gutierrez legged out a triple in the third that bounced off the top of the center-field wall and scored on Perez's wild pitch.
"It was a sinker too hard for the catcher to block," Perez said. "If I happen to throw in the glove, it's different."
Olivo gave Wilhelmsen some breathing room in the eighth with his 12th home run off Alexi Ogando.
"Any home run or run you bring in is important," Olivo said, "but especially for that team. They played all year long, one of the best teams in baseball. It's exciting when you get a good hit like that."
NOTES: Beltre and Hamilton have combined for 76 home runs, 189 runs and 218 RBIs this season. ... Young, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning single, now has 257 career hits against Seattle. That's second all-time behind Cal Ripken Jr.'s 261. ... Mariners 2B Dustin Ackley left in the fourth inning with a stiff neck. ... The Seattle baseball writers' chapter voted Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager for the Mariners MVP awards for pitcher and hitter, respectively. John Jaso was given the Unsung Award. Also, the MLBPAA awarded the Heart and Hustle Award to SS Munenori Kawasaki.