Nelson Cruz had tied the score at 3-3 with a two-run homer in the eighth but the Angels’ superstar drives in three runs with double off Edwin Diaz, who had three walks.
First, there was the injury to Mariners starter James Paxton, who left Thursday’s game with a left pectoral strain.
Then came the comeback led by a tying home run from Nelson Cruz in the eighth inning.
Finally, the end: A two-out, three-run double from Angels superstar Mike Trout against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz that buried the Mariners, 6-3.
Let’s start with that ninth inning.
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After the Mariners (59-57) scored three runs to tie the score in the eighth, Mariners manager Scott Servais called on Diaz, who had been fantastic of late: In his last 18 games, his ERA is 1.45.
But on Thursday in the ninth inning, Diaz couldn’t find the strike zone and walked the first two batters he faced.
“I couldn’t make my pitches tonight,” Diaz said.
He settled down a bit, getting two outs on a failed sacrifice bunt and a ground out. But with two outs, Diaz made a mistake. He walked Angels’ leadoff man Cameron Maybin to load the bases and bring up Trout.
Trout made Diaz pay and drove in three runs with a double that just stayed fair. Diaz hadn’t allowed a run in his last six outings.
“The walks leading up to that really, really hurt,” Servais said. “You’re hoping to stay away from that situation.”
It was Diaz’s third appearance in three days, but he said he felt fine.
Trout’s double washed away what had been a thrilling comeback to get to that point.
Jean Segura led off the eighth inning with a solo home run to cut the Angels’ lead to 3-1. With two outs, Robinson Cano slashed a double to bring up Cruz, who has demolished baseballs lately.
Cruz did that again, crushing a two-run homer that tied the score.
“The bright spot tonight: Our team really wasn’t doing anything offensively,” Servais said. “And to come back and get that ballgame tied up says a lot about the effort our guys are putting forth right now.”
It was Cruz’s 27th home run this season. But it wasn’t the start of a comeback. It was the end of one.