Michael Saunders #55 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run homer in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field on July 14, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Angels 4-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAFECO FIELD - It's seems ridiculous to say after the futility the franchise has shown for so long but the Seattle Mariners are playing some really good baseball right now.
Hisashi Iwakuma earned his first victory since June 10 with just three runs allowed over seven innings of work and the Mariners picked up their first series sweep of the season with a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Saunders hit a two-run home run off Angels starter Joe Blanton in the second inning to give Seattle the lead.
The Mariners have now homered in 22 consecutive games, the longest streak in the majors since Atlanta's 23-game run in 2006. Seattle's string is the best by an AL club since Texas set the big league record with 27 in 2002.
Mike Zunino would add a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give the Mariners a 3-0 cushion.
Blanton became frustrated between innings. He attacked a water cooler and threw it to the ground in the Angels dugout after coming off the mound following the fourth inning. He then appeared to get into a verbal altercation with catcher Chris Iannetta.
Mark Trumbo hit a solo home run off Iwakuma in the fifth inning to put the Angels on the board.
Seattle then chased Blanton from the game in their half of the inning. Blanton allowed a single to Brad Miller before walking Nick Franklin to put a pair of runners on. Raul Ibanez doubled to right field to score Miller and extend the Mariners lead to 4-1.
Mike Trout singled and moved to third on a double by Howie Kendrick in the sixth inning. Iwakuma intentionally walked Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo singled home two runs to pull to within 4-3. Iwakuma then struck out Chris Iannetta looking to get out of the inning.
Tom Wilhelmsen earned his 19th save of the season by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Turning Point: The Angels had rallied for two runs in the sixth inning and had the tying run at third base but Hisashi Iwakuma struck out Chris Iannetta looking to end the threat and the Angels wouldn't be able to find another run after that point.
Player Of The Game: It's starting to get repetitive but it's Justin Smoak. Smoak was 2 for 3 with a double, walk and a run scored. He's now batting .386 with six doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in 12 games in July.
Next Up: The All-Star Break. Seattle is off until Friday when they travel to take on the Houston Astros. Manager Eric Wedge said he hasn't solidified his rotation for after the break but currently RHP Joe Saunders (8-8, 4.24 ERA) is scheduled to take on RHP Bud Norris (6-8, 3.63 ERA)