The omen arrived early Tuesday night in signaling a long evening for the Mariners and right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma when an opponent stole a base.
That hasn’t happened with Iwakuma on the mound since 2013.
That steal, by Arizona’s A.J. Pollock, turned into a run — the game’s first run — and the Diamondbacks proceeded to rough up Iwakuma in an 8-4 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Iwakuma (2-2) came in on a roll. He had yielded just four runs over his three previous starts, but he gave up six in 52/3 innings against the D-Backs, who also tacked on a few late runs against the bullpen.
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“I felt good overall,” Iwakuma said. “When you look at all of my pitches, all of my pitches were working. It was just command. A few of my pitches, I left up, and they took advantage.”
It amounted to another disappointing day in a disappointing season that still has more than two months to run. The Mariners (46-55) need a victory Wednesday from Felix Hernandez to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Mariners had, arguably anyway, the game’s top two individual highlights in tape-measure home runs by Mike Zunino (452 feet) and Nelson Cruz (440) against Arizona starter Zack Godley.
Otherwise, though, Godley (2-0) kept the Mariners pretty much in check for six innings before handing a three-run lead to the Arizona bullpen.
“The break was late with the cutter,” Cruz said. “You can tell, the pitches that he leaves up are the ones you can kill. But he was just down pretty much the whole game.”
Arizona’s Andrew Chafin and David Hernandez worked scoreless innings before Josh Collmenter gave up a run in the ninth before closing out the victory.
In addition to the Pollock’s steal, another play — or, officially, a no-play — summed up the night. Again Pollock was involved when he hit a high foul pop to the right side in the eighth inning.
Seattle first baseman Mark Trumbo drifted under it, or seemed to, but never came close to catching it. It didn’t affect the game’s outcome in any way beyond applying appropriate punctuation.
Arizona jumped on Iwakuma for that early run after Pollock’s one-out single in the first inning. Pollock stole second with two outs by sliding around the tag by shortstop Brad Miller.
“They’re running a lot,” Zunino said. “I had a good opportunity (to throw him out). A 3-0 steal, you don’t see it too often. He was just able to sneak in there.”
It was the first stolen base against Iwakuma since Sept. 25, 2013, and it turned into a run when David Peralta punched a single to left. (Extra points if you remember that previous steal was by Kansas City speedster Jarrod Dyson.)
Iwakuma’s streak covered 35 starts and 239 base runners, who were a combined 0 for 9 on stolen-base attempts.
Peralta stung Iwakuma again in the third inning after Paul Goldschmidt’s two-out single. Peralta yanked a 1-1 sinker into the left-field corner for an RBI double and a 2-0 lead.
“We were really good at getting Iwakuma up,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “Those balls in the dirt you have to lay off. … He’s got such a good split that you’ve got to lay off that ball down.”
Zunino got one run back in the bottom of the third with a booming upper-deck homer to left on Godley’s first pitch. ESPN’s tracking showed it to be the longest homer by a Mariner since Wily Mo Pena’s 468-footer in 2011.
But Arizona countered with Ender Inciarte’s two-out homer in the fifth and broke the game open in the sixth after Goldschmidt and Peralta opened the inning with singles.
Iwakuma struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Jake Lamb lined a single to right that loaded the bases.
Chris Owings followed with a grounder through the right side. Goldschmidt scored easily, and Peralta did, too, when the throw from right fielder Seth Smith was way up the third-base line.
Iwakuma struck out Oscar Hernandez, but Nick Ahmed’s drive to deep center hopped the wall for an RBI double. It was 6-1, and the Mariners went to the bullpen for David Rollins.
“(Iwakuma’s) command was just not where it needed to be,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought his velocity was good, but he left a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate. … Not very good command tonight.”
Cruz’s moonshot came while leading off the bottom of the sixth. It was his 32nd career homer of at least 440 feet, but all it did was cut Arizona’s lead to four runs.
Iwakuma remains the subject of trade speculation as the calendar moves toward Friday’s deadline for nonwaiver deals. Again, he insisted he’s not paying attention.
“I try not to think about it,” he said. “All I have to do is take care of what’s ahead of me right now. And today, I wasn’t able to pitch my game.”
A pending free agent, Iwakuma dodged a question regarding his desire to remain with the Mariners on a new contract.
“It’s hard to talk about the future right now,” he said. “I’ve just got to take one day at a time and let the rest take care of itself.”