VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Seattle Mariners minor league pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma took another step toward a return to the majors on Friday with a solid outing for Single-A Everett AquaSox.
In his second mound appearance in a game since undergoing shoulder surgery last September, the veteran got the start and threw two scoreless innings in a 9-3 win over the Vancouver Canadians.
With his family watching from the stands, the 37-year-old Iwakuma threw 20 pitches and did not allow a hit, striking out a pair and walking one at Nat Bailey Stadium.
“I felt in good shape coming into the game and I was able to retire batters one after the other,” Iwakuma said.
The former Kintetsu Buffaloes and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles ace had his slider and forkball working, clocking 135 kph with his fastest pitch.
“I thought my pitches were cutting well and had good depth. I still feel like I can go up another level,” he said.
Iwakuma, who spent the previous six years in the majors with the Mariners, has been sidelined since last May as he rehabilitates shoulder issues. The 2017 season, in which he missed all but six starts, was his first in the majors without posting a win.
Iwakuma returned to the Mariners on a minor league deal that allows him to rehab and work his way back without taking up a roster spot.
In his MLB career, Iwakuma has a 63-39 record with a 3.42 ERA over 150 games.
In Friday’s MLB action, Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the host Houston Astros 3-0.
Angels DH Shohei Ohtani went 1-for-3 with a walk. He struck out twice.
Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2
In Los Angeles, Justin Turner homered on Zack Greinke’s first pitch of the eighth inning, and the Dodgers beat Arizona.
Los Angeles began the day two games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West and 2½ games back in the wild-card race.
The Dodgers also announced they had acquired third baseman David Freese from the Pirates in exchange for minor league infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez.
Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 33rd save. Paul Goldschmidt doubled with one out, but Jansen struck out David Peralta and retired Eduardo Escobar on a grounder to shortstop.
Enrique Hernandez also homered for Los Angeles, and Dylan Floro (5-3) got the win.
Goldschmidt hit his 31st homer for Arizona, and Greinke (13-9) gave up six hits in 7⅓ innings.
White Sox 6, Red Sox 1
In Chicago, Yoan Moncada and Matt Davidson homered for the White Sox, and prized prospect Michael Kopech combined with three relievers on a five-hitter.
Blue Jays 6, Marlins 5
In Miami, Justin Smoak connected for a pinch-hit grand slam in the ninth, sending Toronto to the victory.
Athletics 7, Mariners 5
Yankees 7, Tigers 5
Brewers 4, Nationals 1
Indians 3, Rays 0
Phillies 2 , Cubs 1 (10)
Pirates 3, Braves 2
Twins 10, Rangers 7
Royals 9, Orioles 2
Cardinals 12, Reds 5
Padres 7, Rockies 0
Giants 7, Mets 0