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Updated: August 18th, 2012 12:09am
Nick Blackburn struggles again as Twins fall to Iwakuma, Mariners

Nick Blackburn struggles again as Twins fall to Iwakuma, Mariners

by The Associated Press

SEATTLE -John Jaso and Miguel Olivo homered, and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched seven strong innings to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Friday night.

The skinny

Iwakuma (4-3) gave up four hits, but didn't allow an earned run in winning for the third time in four decisions. He struck out six and walked one for the Mariners, who have won three of four.

Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn struggled again, allowing five runs and 11 hits. Blackburn (4-9) has lost five consecutive decisions and hasn't won since June 22.

Justin Morneau's double to open the fifth inning snapped Seattle's streak of 42 consecutive batters retired, the longest streak in the majors since 1974. The last batter to reach base against the Mariners was Tampa Bay's Jeff Keppinger, who doubled to lead off the ninth inning on Tuesday.

Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Matt Carson knocked in Morneau with a single to get the Twins within 3-1 and snap Seattle's 21-inning shutout streak. Tampa Bay scored twice in the first inning on Tuesday, the last runs given up by Seattle.

Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham hit back-to-back homers off Stephen Pryor in the eighth for the Twins, but Tom Wilhelmsen tossed a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.

Iwakuma struck out Pedro Florimon and Darin Mastroianni with the bases loaded to end the fifth and protect Seattle's two-run lead.

A single up the middle by Dustin Ackley ended Blackburn's night in the sixth and put the Mariners up 5-1. Trayvon Robinson doubled to open the inning, and Eric Thames followed with a double down the right-field line to score Robinson.

Olivo hit his ninth home run of the season on the first pitch he saw from Blackburn, continuing his dominance of the right-hander. Olivo is 12-for-24 with four home runs against Blackburn.

Lefties are hitting .376 this year against Blackburn, and Jaso added to that success with a two-run homer in the first. Jaso's eighth shot of the year drove in Michael Saunders, who had singled, and snapped an 0-for-17 streak. Jaso reached base three times.

Mauer hit his eighth homer when he drove a fastball to center field from the hard-throwing Pryor in the eighth inning. Willingham followed with his 31st homer, smashing a 98-mph fastball from Pryor into the Seattle bullpen to cut the Twins' deficit to 5-3. It was the third time this season Minnesota has hit back-to-back home runs.

Numbers game

42: Consecutive batters retired by Mariners pitchers until Morneau's double in the fifth inning.

8: Home runs for Mauer

31: Home runs for Willingham

47: Home runs for Willingham since July 29 of last year -- the most in baseball.

Health report reported Carl Pavano is still throwing his fastball between 85 and 86 mph on his rehab assignment for High-A Fort Myers.

On deck

Saturday: @ Mariners, 8:10 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (10-5, 2.97) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.56)
Sunday: @ Mariners, 3:10 p.m. RHP Samuel Deduno (4-0, 3.38) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (7-7, 5.17)

© The Associated Press