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Published: Sunday, August 24, 2014, 6:19 p.m.

Mariners' Iwakuma continues to struggle against Red Sox

BOSTON — The Seattle Mariners Hisashi Iwakuma has no explanation for his ongoing problems against the Boston Red Sox after lasting just 21/3 innings Sunday in what marked the shortest start of his career.
“If I knew,” he said, “I'd get these guys out. I've only faced them a couple of times. Hopefully, the next time I will get these guys out.”
Iwakuma gave up five runs and six hits after not allowing a run in his two previous starts and only four runs combined in his previous five starts over 361/3 innings.
He also hit two batters in a three-run first inning after not hitting a single batter this season in 147 previous innings. He needed 39 pitches to get through the first.
“I couldn't find a good rhythm on the mound,” Iwakuma said. “I was able to throw some strikes but I wasn't able to execute when I needed to and that kind of cost me today.”
None of this is new.
The shortest previous outing of Iwakuma career was three innings on July 9, 2013, against Boston; his shortest previous outing this season was four innings on June 25 against Boston at Safeco Field.
In all, Iwakuma has now allowed 17 earned runs and 30 hits in 15 innings against the Red Sox in four career starts. That's a 10.20 ERA; his career ERA against everyone else is 2.61.
“I'm very thankful to my teammates,” he said. “They saved the game. They saved my game. I feel bad because I didn't do my part. Out of respect, I  have to make up for it in my next start.”
That will be Friday against Washington at Safeco Field.
Saunders recalled
Outfielder Michael Saunders was recalled Saturday from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma after an examination confirmed a viral infection.
The move means Saunders can't be sent back out on a rehab assignment for at least five days. He was sent home from the park Wednesday because of the illness.
Saunders, 27, was 9-for-35 in 10 games on a rehab assignment, which began Aug. 7, in his recovery from a strained left oblique, which he suffered July 10 on a swing against Minnesota.
Rehab assignments are limited to 20 days for non-pitchers.
Rotation plans
McClendon isn't planning any changes after Thursday's open date in the schedule. If he holds to that, the cycle sets up this way prior to the season's final open date on Sept. 11:
¦ Monday through Wednesday vs. Texas: Roenis Elias, James Paxton and Felix Hernandez.
¦ Friday through Aug. 31 vs. Washington: Chris Young, Hisashi Iwakuma and Elias.
¦ Sept. 1-3 at Oakland: Paxton, Hernandez, and Young.
¦ Sept. 4-7 at Texas: Iwakuma, Elias, Paxton and Hernandez.
¦ Sept. 8-10 vs. Houston: Young, Iwakuma and Elias.
Short takes
This was the Mariners' 63rd series at Fenway Park but their first sweep in a series of at least three games. While they have three two-game sweeps at Fenway in their history, they were 0-5 prior to Sunday when they had a chance for a sweep in a series of three games or more. ... The Mariners have won 14 of their last 18 games. ... Dustin Ackley went 3-for-5 and finished the season with a .520 average against the Red Sox (13-for-25). ... The bullpen lowered its ERA to 2.38. ... First baseman Logan Morrison returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game because of flu-like symptoms. He went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He has hits in his last eight games and is batting .367 (11-for-30) in that stretch.
Looking back
It was 24 years ago Monday — Aug. 25, 1990 — that Edgar Martinez stole home on the back end of a double steal with Ken Griffey Jr. in the seventh inning of a 6-3 victory at Kansas City.
Pete O'Brien was at the plate against Royals reliever Steve Crawford when Griffey broke for second. When catcher Bob Boone threw through, Martinez stole home.
It was Martinez's only stolen base of the season. He finished his 18-year career with 49 steals in 79 attempts.
On tap
The Mariners open a six-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Monday at Safeco Field with the first of three games against Texas.
Lefty Roenis Elias (9-10 with a 4.09 ERA) will oppose Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-5, 7.48). Root Sports will televise the game.
The concludes with games Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. The Mariners have an open date Thursday before concluding the homestand with three weekend games against Washington.

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