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LAA@SEA: Iwakuma strikes out eight over six

Every player to begin the 2012 season on a Major League roster had been used at least once just two weeks into the schedule last year.

Everyone except Hisashi Iwakuma.

Iwakuma, in his first season in the Majors after enjoying a successful career in Japan, finally made an appearance out of the bullpen on April 20, 2012, got off to a rocky start, and finished the year as one of the best starters in the league.

Over his last nine starts of 2012, Iwakuma went 6-2 with a 1.83 ERA, striking out 43 batters.

Iwakuma picked up right where he left off this season, and he looks to keep it rolling when the Mariners take on the Blue Jays on Saturday.

After signing a two-year extension worth a reported $14 million, Iwakuma is continuing to put up fantastic numbers in six starts this season.

He leads the Majors with a 0.69 WHIP, while posting a 1.67 ERA and 7.4 strikeout-per-walk rate, fourth best among qualified starters.

Iwakuma was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, giving a blister time to heal, but the team felt he was ready to go Saturday on five days' rest.

"We had it set up one way, but we didn't feel the need to push Iwakuma back, because his finger is coming along nicely," manager Eric Wedge said.

Opposing Iwakuma will be a Blue Jays team still looking to find an identity.

The Blue Jays -- who send R.A. Dickey to the mound, hoping to resurrect his season after getting off to a 2-4 start with a 4.50 ERA -- have lost seven of their last eight.

"To be honest with you, we like every night we send someone out there," said manager John Gibbons. "We're in most games, the occasional blowout, but we're in most games -- [we] just haven't been able to win those games. But that'll get you nowhere in this business."

Mariners: Bay getting hot
Jason Bay homered in Friday's 4-0 win over the Blue Jays to get a hit in his seventh straight game.

He's raised his average from .184 to .279 in that span, and has driven in seven runs. Bay, who hit fifth Friday and has been slotted in every spot in the order except ninth this season, understands that his playing time will coincide with his performance.

"It's been probably better than I expected, actually, just given how refreshing it's been to get here and just be another guy on the team and literally do whatever they need," Bay said. "Whether it's defense, [running], whatever it is, I think a lot of it comes from me being OK with that."

Blue Jays: Lineup shakeup
The Blue Jays put out their 27th different lineup in 30 games this season on Friday against the Mariners. Melky Cabrera moved to the No. 2 spot, pushing Adam Lind back to sixth.

The Jays, who rank third in the American League with 36 home runs, are also last in the Majors with a .228 batting average.

"If we keep beating ourselves up, it's going to be a long year," said third baseman Brett Lawrie. "So I think it's time we just start putting stuff behind us and just come here and play baseball."

Worth noting
• Michael Morse, a former member of the Nationals, is the only Mariners player with any real experience against Dickey. Morse is 7-for-27 with no home runs off the knuckleballer.

• Jose Bautista went 1-for-3 Friday, continuing his season-long streak of games without collecting multiple base hits.

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