The Mariners hold on for a win despite a shaky ninth inning by Edwin Diaz, who allowed two ninth-inning runs.
As good as he’s been, as ruthlessly as he’s plowed through opposing lineups, Mariners closer Edwin Diaz was bound to run into trouble.
It’s not quite life, death and taxes territory, but for a closer, it’s close. Diaz ran into trouble in the top of the ninth inning Friday, trying to shield a three-run lead from the Milwaukee Brewers.
He walked the first batter he faced. He struck out the next two. Then he walked the next two.
M’s vs. Brewers, 6:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
With the bases loaded, Diaz allowed a two-run single to Brewers DH Ryan Braun, shrinking the lead to one. He coolly and, yes, ruthlessly ended the game with a strikeout to seal a 7-6 win for the Mariners.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Frustrated Pac-12 football teams want to play Oct. 31. Why not let them?
- It's time for Pac-12 to start playing football. Those who are behind will catch up.
- Seahawks may have to be more balanced against Patriots, but Russell Wilson will still be at the center of it all
- What to watch for when the Seahawks face the Patriots in Week 2 — plus Bob Condotta's prediction
- Reports: Pac-12 Conference leaning toward seven-game football season beginning Nov. 7
The Mariners (65-56) are now two games back of the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
To recap for Diaz: three walks, three strikeouts, two runs — and one save.
“He is human,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He is not a robot. He’s not going to out there and strike them out every night and throw 100 miles per hour. Nobody does. We asked him tonight to get three outs; he got three outs before they scored three runs. That’s what we asked him to do. Tomorrow night, or the next time he goes out there, he might not have as much leeway. But he got through it.
“In the end, he’s going to benefit from going through some of this stuff. … He needs to walk out of here feeling, ‘Hey, I gave up a couple of runs, but at the end of the day, we got the win. I did the job.’ ”
Which is exactly how Diaz sounded after the game. Diaz had another rough outing in his previous appearance against the Angels on Wednesday, when he allowed one run and three hits before squirming out of a jam, thanks to Kyle Seager, for the save.
“I was thinking, ‘Keep working and try to get the win for my team,’” Diaz said. “That’s the most important thing right now. If we win, I’ll be fine. I will think of the other things later.”
Diaz struggled with his fastball command against the Brewers, and he said the problem was mechanical and had to do with his arm slot. He said he would show up early on Saturday to work on it.
“I dropped my arm a little bit,” he said. “I need to get on top of the ball again. When I fix that, everything will be fine.”
Diaz had a cushion to work with because the Mariners tacked on insurance runs.
Kyle Seager hit a solo homer, his 23rd this season, in the fourth inning, Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer, his 28th, in the fifth inning, and Stefen Romero added another run in the fifth with an RBI single.
Nelson Cruz tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning with a single. Ketel Marte added one more in the seventh inning with a double. And Adam Lind hit a solo home run in the eighth inning that proved to be much more valuable than it initially appeared.
“We haven’t done that always this year,” Servais said.
Wade LeBlanc, the Mariners’ starter, allowed three runs on three home runs in 51/3 innings. He gave up two solo homers to start the sixth inning, right after the Mariners took a 4-1 lead and exited shortly after.
LeBlanc has allowed at least two home runs in five of his last six starts.
“The homers are getting a little ridiculous,” LeBlanc said, “but as long as we’re getting some Ws, I can’t complain too much.”
The bullpen held the line and turned the game over to Diaz, who has usually brought a pretty efficient end to games.
But Diaz struggled for the second straight outing, and Servais used Friday’s game as a teaching moment after Diaz picked up his ninth save.
“Not just him,” Servais said. “It’s our whole team, it’s our fan base, everybody. You can’t walk out of this thinking, ‘Oh my gosh.’ No, we won the game. And he got three outs before they got three runs. That’s what the job called for tonight, and he got it done.”