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SEA@LAA: Iwakuma goes seven two-run frames vs. Angels

Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma wished he'd had more than four days to rest before his most recent start, against the Angels on July 18.

But because of the All-Star break, that wasn't possible.

"The feel of pitching is just not the same after four days off," Iwakuma, 33, said on Friday. "It's just different. Totally different."

Though he still managed to throw seven innings of two-run ball, he picked up a no-decision and threw just 77 pitches before fatigue forced him out of the game.

On Thursday, when the Mariners take on the Orioles, he will been enjoying the benefits of his start being pushed back an extra day.

Iwakuma has one of the best splitters in baseball, and he finished third in American League Cy Young voting last year. Thus far he's 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA and 0.994 WHIP after missing Spring Training and roughly the first month of the season with a injured right middle finger.

He and the Mariners will face Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who also struggled with a low pitch count in his previous start.

Chen threw just 86 pitches on Saturday and has not reached 100 in his past five outings.

He'll look to get the Orioles back on track after a two-run eighth inning cost them in a 3-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday.

Mariners: Zunino working through growing pains
On Wednesday, manager Lloyd McClendon insisted that catcher Mike Zunino will improve offensively as he continues to gain more big league experience.

Zunino's hitting in his second year with the Mariners has been, for the most part, all or nothing. He has a .204 average and 102 strikeouts, but he leads AL catchers in homers, with 14.

"I keep reminding everybody of this: Zunino is just a puppy," McClendon said. "He's got a total of about 600 at-bats in his professional career."

Orioles: Showalter hoping Machado ready for return
Manager Buck Showalter said on Wednesday that he'd feel a lot more comfortable if Manny Machado was ready to play again after he was scratched at the last minute on Tuesday with back spasms.

But Machado didn't play again on Wednesday and is still day to day.

"[Machado] walked over to me and said, 'Skip, I don't think I can go.' and I looked and said, 'Are you serious?" Showalter said on Tuesday when the issue first arose. "We were ready to take out the lineup card."

Machado is batting .267 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.

"We saw a doctor and he said it just spasmed up a little bit," Machado said on Tuesday. "I took some pills, and hopefully it gets better with some time."

Worth noting
• The Mariners are 2-4 since the All-Star break.

• Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. His next step is throwing to hitters in Seattle on Friday.

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