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OAK@SEA: Iwakuma dazzles over seven, strikes out nine

After dealing with a pesky blister on his right middle finger, the Rangers' Nick Tepesch will take the hill in Sunday's series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field a few days later than expected.

The right-hander was scratched from his start on Wednesday because of the blister, but threw a bullpen session on Thursday without any problems.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting back out there," Tepesch said. "It's all about being aggressive and throwing strikes."

He'll face a Mariners lineup overcrowded with left-handed hitters, a potential problem from Tepesch. Lefties are batting .308 off him with a .495 slugging percentage. Right-handed hitters are batting just .205 with a .295 slugging percentage.

However, Rangers manager Ron Washington feels that if Tepesch has an effective sinker, getting left-handed hitters out shouldn't be a problem.

"If he can get that sinker working, everything else should be fine," said Washington.

Meanwhile, Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is looking to rebound after his worst start of the season and end his club's eight-game losing streak.

Iwakuma (5-1, 2.37 ERA) took a no-decision on Monday against the Indians, allowing a season-high five runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He also struck out six and walked three.

Winning his first three starts in May, opponents are still hitting just .194 against the Iwakuma, who sports an outstanding WHIP of just 0.87.

On April 12 against Texas, Iwakuma picked up his second win of the season, allowing just one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out six and walked just one.

Rangers: Wolf moves into bullpen
Ross Wolf, who earned his first Major League victory on Wednesday when he started and allowed one run in five-plus innings against the Athletics, became a long reliever when the Rangers decided to call up southpaw Martin Perez to start the first game of their doubleheader with the D-backs on Monday.

"That was the recommendation of the people down there," Washington said of Perez's impending promotion. "He threw the ball we down there. It's his turn, we decided to bring him up. [Wolf] can help us in the bullpen, a long guy out of the bullpen. It's taking nothing away from Wolf. We still have a guy we can spot start until we get the pitching staff together. You never know, he may get another chance."

• Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis made his third start on a medical-rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday and allowed three runs over four innings against Memphis. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out two.

The Rangers will see how Lewis recovers from this outing, but his next start will likely be on Thursday, either for Round Rock at New Orleans or for Double-A Frisco at home against Springfield.

Mariners: Triunfel's patience paying off
Seattle infielder Carlos Triunfel said before his first start of the season on Saturday at second base that he's focused on being more patient at the plate.

That approach has paid off. The only time he'd been at .300 or above in any of his previous six Minor League seasons before this spring was the .309 he hit in 43 games as a 17-year-old with Class A Wisconsin in the Midwest League.

"That was always my problem. I've been working on that this year -- to be a lot more patient," Triunfel said through an interpreter. "I feel good."

He finished Saturday's game going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Worth noting
• The Rangers claimed outfielder Joe Benson off waivers from the Twins and assigned him to Frisco on Saturday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rangers transferred Matt Harrison from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

• Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen hasn't had a save opportunity in more than a week. He is 11-for-12 in save chances and has kept right-handed batters hitless in 31 at-bats with four walks.

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