Iwakuma cruises vs. Giants as Pence homers

Iwakuma cruises vs. Giants as Pence homers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Seattle received three shutout innings from right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma as the Mariners extended their Cactus League winning streak to three games with Friday's 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

In five innings spanning two outings, Iwakuma, Seattle's No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez, has allowed one hit and walked one batter -- both in Friday's game.

"My fastball was pretty sharp," Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. "I was able to command, like I did last time, and I felt I was able to throw a little harder today. So overall it felt good. I'm pleased with where I'm at right now."

Iwakuma's performance helped the Mariners survive Hunter Pence's two-run, fourth-inning homer in his first Cactus League appearance. Pence had been sidelined while recovering from right Achilles tendinitis.

"To me, it's special to get back out there," said Pence. "I waited a long time."

Pence crushes two-run homer

Seattle jumped ahead with a tainted first-inning run off Jeff Samardzija. Ketel Marte doubled on a fly ball to left field that Mac Williamson lost in the sun. Marte then scored on Leonys Martin's single.

The Mariners scored twice in the third inning with two outs. Franklin Gutierrez doubled home a run on a drive to right-center field that Gorkys Hernandez nearly caught with a sliding attempt on the warning track. Stefen Romero's single scored Gutierrez.

Gutierrez's RBI double

Pence narrowed the difference to a single run by depositing Joel Peralta's 3-1 pitch over the lawn-seating area in left field, following Buster Posey's double to deep right-center field. The Mariners got those two runs back in the eighth thanks to Chris Taylor's RBI double and Tyler O'Neill's RBI single, then the Giants countered with a pair in the bottom of the ninth off Tony Zych.

O'Neill's RBI single

Samardzija, making his third start of the spring, allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out one in four innings.

Mariners Up Next: Seattle plays a pair of night games in its first split-squad day of the spring. Lefty Mike Montgomery makes his Cactus League debut in a 6:05 p.m. PT game against the Reds in Goodyear, while fellow southpaw James Paxton starts his third spring game in a 6:40 p.m. PT contest against the Dodgers in Peoria. The Peoria game will be televised live on Root Sports, MLB.TV and 710 ESPN Seattle, with the game from Goodyear available on Gameday Audio.

Giants Up Next: The second of four split-squad doubleheaders on the Cactus League schedule will occupy the Giants on Saturday. Left-hander Ty Blach, ranked 24th on MLBPipeline.com's list of top Giants prospects, will confront the Arizona Diamondbacks at Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. PT. Meanwhile, right-hander Jake Peavy will oppose the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe at 12:10 p.m. PT. After opening the spring by allowing Milwaukee six runs in 1 2/3 innings March 3, an improved Peavy surrendered two runs in three innings to Texas last Monday. Both games can be seen live on MLB.TV.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.