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Iwakuma throws 8 scoreless innings before Rodney blows the save as Mariners lose 2-1 to Rays

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SEATTLE - Hisashi Iwakuma pitched eight innings of shutout ball.

Fernando Rodney undid it all in less than an inning.

Rodney came on in the ninth with the Seattle Mariners holding a 1-0 lead and promptly gave up a leadoff home run to David DeJesus, then a go-ahead RBI single to Matt Joyce five batters later in the Tampa Bay Rays' 2-1 victory Tuesday night.

Rodney left with two outs in the ninth to a chorus of boos.

"I understand that part when the fans boo," Rodney said. "They get mad because they want to win, but that didn't happen tonight."

Iwakuma allowed four hits over eight innings, striking out five without a walk.

"I thought I pitched well," Iwakuma said through a translator. "They bounced me around a couple of times early, but by the third and fourth inning, I was able to get in a groove and take off."

Iwakuma, making his third start after opening the season on the disabled list with a finger injury, gave up a double to DeJesus in the first, then retired 13 in a row before the Rays picked up a pair of singles in the fifth. Tampa Bay's only other hit off Iwakuma was Joyce's single to lead off the eighth, but Iwakuma finished off that inning — and his night — with a called strikeout of Wil Myers with the runner stranded on first.

"He's been phenomenal," Seattle's first-year manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He is better than what I thought. I knew sitting in the other dugout he was good, but he is better than good."

It was the second straight eight-inning shutout outing for Iwakuma, who has now thrown 24 straight scoreless innings at home dating to last season. He didn't get the chance to try for his first career complete game, though, as Rodney came on and ended up with his second blown save.

"Kuma was out of gas," McClendon said. "I've got one of the best closers in the game. This guy's going to save a lot of games for us, it just didn't go his way tonight."

Rodney (1-2) had a 2-2 count on DeJesus when the designated hitter sent a fly ball down the right-field line, and all right fielder Stefen Romero could do was watch as the ball cleared the wall with a couple of rows to spare.

With two outs, James Loney golfed a single up the middle and was replaced by pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez. Desmond Jennings' hard grounder to short hopped past Brad Miller, and then Joyce's fly to right-centre dropped in front of the diving James Jones to score Rodriguez.

Price (4-3) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to complete the victory for the Rays. He kept the Mariners off balance most of the night, allowing one run and six hits. Eight of his 12 strikeouts came on called third strikes.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jones led off with a double down the left-field line and later scored on Robinson Cano's groundout to first. Although the Mariners were able to get a few runners on base — four of their six hits were doubles — they were unable to do anything once they were there, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

"(Price) beared down when he needed to," said Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak, who was 0 for 4. "Pretty much any pitch he wanted to throw tonight was pretty sharp to me."

NOTES: Rodney has allowed a baserunner in 10 of his 13 save opportunities. ... Jones has at least one hit in each of his six starts this season. ... C Mike Zunino has a six-game hitting streak. ... Iwakuma's eight innings tied his career high, which he has reached nine times. It was the fifth time he's thrown eight innings without allowing a run.

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