Rookie closer Edwin Diaz fired a 97 mph fastball on a 2-2 count to Rougned Odor — but it went rocketing out for a two-run walkoff home run.

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ARLINGTON, Texas — It would have provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise abysmal and disappointing road trip. Rallying from a four-run deficit and beating Cole Hamels and the Rangers on Tuesday night was something the scuffling Mariners could build upon.

Instead, it was a roundhouse blast to the jaw that Seattle might not recover from this season.

For the first time in his big-league career, rookie closer Edwin Diaz got to feel what’s it is like to blow a save in the Mariners’ 8-7 loss to the Rangers.


Mariners @ Texas Rangers, 11:05 a.m., ROOT Sports

He could only watch as his 97 mph fastball on a 2-2 count leaked over the middle of the plate to Rougned Odor. The misplaced pitch resulted in a vapor trail over the wall in center field of Globe Life Park on a vicious swing for a two-run walkoff homer.

Diaz turned his gaze away quickly

“I just started walking to the dugout because I knew it was going to be a homer,” he said. “I missed in the middle.”

The process that led up to that walkoff hit is what had fans second-guessing manager Scott Servais on social media and other places late into the night, regardless of his reasons.

The roots of the decision began in the bottom of the seventh when he had to use three pitchers — Steve Cishek, Vidal Nuno and Dan Altavilla — to get three outs while still giving up two runs and erasing their 6-4 lead. The plan of using Cishek and Diaz to piece together the final three innings was gone.

“The seventh inning got away from us trying to work through that,” Servais said.

The Mariners retook the lead in the top of the eighth on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. Up 7-6 and with only Diaz, Pat Venditte and Arquimedes Caminero remaining in the bullpen, Servais decided to go to his best reliever to get the final six outs.

“We are going for it,” Servais said of his thinking. “I think with where we are in the season and we are in a tough stretch playing really good teams and with the way our team battled tonight, I certainly wanted to have our best guy and hottest guy on the mound at the end.”

Diaz’s previous save was five outs on Friday in Chicago. As a former starter, multiple innings aren’t an issue. But what was a problem was meandering command, a less than crisp slider and the 24 pitches it took to get out of the eighth without allowing a run. He got the first two outs, but then issued two walks before striking out Carlos Beltran.

“I was feeling great,” he said. “I made a couple of mistakes. I paid the price for them.”

Any fatigue going into the ninth?

“No, I felt good,” he said. “I had three or four days off. So it’s no problem for me. The last time I had a five-out save. It’s part of the game. I need to battle.”

But Adrian Beltre hammered a 97 mph fastball at his letters for a single to bring up Odor — the winning run at the plate.

Only adding to the misery of the night was the news that James Paxton tore the nail on the middle finger of his left hand again. It was the same injury that plagued him at the end of 2015. The injury occurred in the third inning, but he pitched through five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

“It started to lift up again, same as last year, but not as bad,” he said. “It was just painful throwing pitches. I just did everything I could and battled.”

Paxton’s nail was getting worse on cutters and changeups so he was essentially reduced to throwing his fastball or curveball for his final three innings.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We are going to try a solution so it doesn’t happen anymore.”

There was mention of a fake nail to try and cement the torn nail into place. He hopes to make his next start in six days.

“I’m going to try and get the fake nail put on tomorrow, throw with it, throw my bullpen and see if it’s OK,” he said.

The Mariners had a chance to steal a win on a night when Hamels wasn’t sharp and they had rallied from an early 4-0 deficit. Instead, they lost their fourth straight game.

Down 4-0, the Mariners picked up two runs in the fourth inning when Hamels seemed to forget how to throw the ball over the plate. After giving up singles to Ketel Marte and Cano to start the inning, Hamels walked Franklin Gutierrez to load the bases and Kyle Seager to force in a run. Hamels retired the next two hitters without allowing a run to score, but then walked Mike Zunino on a 3-2 changeup to force across another run to make it 4-2.

Seattle took the lead an inning later, knocking Hamels out of the game. A one-out walk to Gutierrez loaded the bases for Seager. It’s a situation that hasn’t been kind to the Mariners this season, but Seager delivered, pulling a ground ball into right field past Odor for an RBI single. Right fielder Carlos Gomez overran the ball and it allowed another to score to tie the score at 4-4.

The Mariners took the lead in the next at-bat. Dae-Ho Lee parachuted a ball into right-center to give Seattle a 5-4 lead and end Hamels’ outing.