After starring as one of baseball's top pitchers for most of the season, Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma must find a way to regroup after two straight defeats.
The Mariners might depend on it considering their offensive struggles.
Iwakuma looks to avoid dropping a third straight start Friday night when he takes the mound in the series opener with the Chicago Cubs at Safeco Field.
Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26 ERA) posted a 1.70 ERA while going undefeated in nine straight outings, eight of them quality starts. Then Oakland handed him two straight losses as he gave up eight runs and 14 hits over 12 innings. He went seven innings in last Friday's 6-3 setback, yielding four runs.
"He gave us a chance to win the ballgame, he just wasn't quite as sharp with his secondary stuff," manager Eric Wedge said.
Oakland connected for three homers off Iwakuma, who had held opponents homerless in his previous four starts.
"Overall, I thought I felt pretty good on the mound," he said. "My pitches were there, it...