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M's lose in Texas, but '18 road record is 5th best

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ARLINGTON -- A day after being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, the math didn't add up well again on Sunday for the Mariners as they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Rangers in their final road game of the year.

After scoring a season-high 13 runs in a runaway shutout victory on Saturday, the Mariners managed just six hits and a lone run while going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers racked up four runs on five hits and a walk in the sixth inning and added a Joey Gallo blast in the eighth to pull out the series finale.

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ARLINGTON -- A day after being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, the math didn't add up well again on Sunday for the Mariners as they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Rangers in their final road game of the year.

After scoring a season-high 13 runs in a runaway shutout victory on Saturday, the Mariners managed just six hits and a lone run while going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers racked up four runs on five hits and a walk in the sixth inning and added a Joey Gallo blast in the eighth to pull out the series finale.

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Robinson Cano continued his recent tear by going 2-for-4 to raise his average to .304, but Seattle's only run came on an RBI double by Guillermo Heredia in the third.

The Mariners finished their 10-game road trip with a 6-4 record, putting their final road record at 44-37, tied for their fifth-best mark in the franchise's 42-year history.

"I think we've swung the bat better on the road than at home," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I've often said, you've got to hit on the road to win. Obviously that's what we didn't do enough of today. But overall this season, we've had some good trips and series on the road. It just hasn't been enough."

Video: SEA@TEX: Servais on LeBlanc's start, loss to Rangers

The Mariners averaged 4.7 runs per game on the road while posting a .265/.326/.423 line this year, compared with 3.6 runs with a .243/.320/.413 line so far at Safeco Field.

Seattle concludes its season with seven games at home this coming week, with a chance to build on an 85-70 record that has been sullied considerably by a 29-38 tally since July 5 that allowed Oakland to leapfrog into the second American League Wild Card spot.

Video: SEA@TEX: LeBlanc K's Beltre to escape a jam in 3rd

Wade LeBlanc sailed through five scoreless innings before giving up three runs -- and the lead -- in the sixth. The 34-year-old fell to 8-5 with a 3.55 ERA with the loss, allowing eight hits and the three runs in five-plus frames.

"You feel pretty good about where you're at as far as execution, then you make a few mistakes and good hitters make you pay quick," LeBlanc said.

Video: SEA@TEX: Mazara rips a 2-run double to center in 6th

LeBlanc has posted a 1.83 ERA over his last six starts, but gone 1-2 in that stretch while not getting a lot of offensive help.

"Wade threw the ball pretty well. He navigated his way through some traffic to put five zeros up there and we were in a pretty good spot," Servais said. "We didn't give him much wiggle room offensively, didn't do obviously a ton today or get many hits with runners in scoring position. Then that sixth inning got away from us."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Playing what likely will be his last game for the Rangers at Globe Life Park, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was taken out by interim manager Don Wakamatsu after going out to his defensive position in the top of the sixth inning.

The former Mariner exchanged hugs with his Texas teammates as he walked slowly off the field and acknowledged a standing ovation from the crowd, while the Mariners all stood as well at the top rail of their dugout in appreciation.

Video: SEA@TEX: Beltre exits the game to a raucous ovation

"There are some moments that are just bigger than others and that was definitely one of them," said Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. "There's a few guys in the league that just have the respect of every single person on the team, no matter what you've done or how long you've been around. Some guys are just unbelievably respected in this game and he's certainly one of them for all that he's accomplished and how hard he's worked."

SOUND SMART
Cano has gone 13-for-19 with five doubles, a home run and seven RBIs over his last five games, hiking his average from .277 to .304.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Utility man Kristopher Negron, acquired by the Mariners at the end of August, continued making the most of his limited opportunities by playing well in his first start in right field. With Mitch Haniger getting his first day off since July 5, Negron made an excellent running catch of a drive into the right-center gap by Jurickson Profar for the final out in the fifth. He also threw out Profar in the first after the Rangers second baseman rounded second too aggressively following a single by Elvis Andrus.

Video: SEA@TEX: Negron catches Profar off the bag at second

"Kris continues to play well," Servais said. "He made a nice throw behind Profar to pick up the out at second and he made a nice running catch in the gap. He's a good athlete. He can throw and he did a nice job in the batter's box as well. He'll continue to get opportunities as we get a chance to look at guys in the last homestand."

UP NEXT
Left-hander James Paxton (11-6, 3.83 ERA) returns after missing two starts with pneumonia and will face A's lefty Brett Anderson (4-5, 3.96 ERA) in Monday's 7:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco as the Mariners open their final homestand of the year. He's 4-0 with a 3.70 ERA in nine career starts against the A's and has faced them two of his last three outings, including an Aug. 14 game when he got knocked out in the first inning when his left arm was hit by a line drive.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia, Wade LeBlanc

Felix to rejoin rotation for one more '18 start

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ARLINGTON -- Felix Hernandez has made 27 starts this season and 402 in his 14-year Major League career, but he'd like to make one more this year and will rejoin the rotation Wednesday when the Mariners face the A's in the final homestand of 2018.

Hernandez has been sidelined since Sept. 8 with a strained right hamstring, but he'll gear it up for one last go in the final game of the Oakland series.

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ARLINGTON -- Felix Hernandez has made 27 starts this season and 402 in his 14-year Major League career, but he'd like to make one more this year and will rejoin the rotation Wednesday when the Mariners face the A's in the final homestand of 2018.

Hernandez has been sidelined since Sept. 8 with a strained right hamstring, but he'll gear it up for one last go in the final game of the Oakland series.

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"I feel good. No problems. It's 100 percent," Hernandez said Sunday. "I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn't a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest."

James Paxton is also slated to rejoin the rotation this week after missing two starts with pneumonia. The big lefty will start Monday's series opener against the A's, which means he should be able to make one additional start next weekend in the season-ending series against the Rangers at Safeco.

Hernandez has struggled much of the year, going 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA, which is more than a full point higher than last season's career-high 4.36. His WHIP of 1.40 and FIP of 5.05 are also career highs and he hasn't won a game since June 30, going 0-7 with a 6.14 ERA in his last 10 outings, including the lone relief appearance of his career after getting moved briefly to the bullpen.

But after all Hernandez has done in his career -- including six All-Star appearance, an American League Cy Young Award and a perfect game -- he's perplexed by how this year unfolded and still wants to work on some changes made to his mechanics in recent weeks before calling it a season.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said there are a couple reasons it's important to give Hernandez another start before shutting down for the year.

"One, he really wants to and that's good," Servais said. "No. 2, it is important to just go into the offseason with peace of mind. You want good results obviously and go out throw the ball well and give us a chance to win the ballgame. But also so he feels good about where he's at physically. Then you can gear up and figure out what your offseason program is going to be and how you're going to get ready for next year."

The math no longer adds up
About an hour after the Mariners left their clubhouse following Saturday's win, they were mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention when the A's pulled out another walk-off win over the Twins.

"You have to give Oakland a ton of credit," Servais said. "They put together quite a run and did not back off. They never stepped back. They continued to pitch very, very well. How they've won games, when you have a season like that, that's what you do. We thought we were on that track. We got derailed for a couple different reasons and you have to give them a ton of credit."

Haniger gets a rare day of rest
Right fielder Mitch Haniger wasn't in the lineup Sunday for the first time since being sidelined by a bruised knee on July 5-6, having started the last 65 games while posting a .310/.391/.516 line. But Servais knows the 27-year-old has been grinding and he finally gave him a day off in the final road game of the year.

Haniger has played in 151 of the team's games to date and has played even better down the stretch after an All-Star first half.

"He's certainly earned it. He's been as consistent running out there as any player I've seen in a long, long time," Servais said. "Really impressive."

Worth noting
• When Mike Zunino homered in Saturday's 13-0 win, he became the fifth Mariner with 20 home runs, joining Nelson Cruz, Haniger, Ryon Healy and Kyle Seager. It's just the fourth time in club history the Mariners have had five players with 20 homers and first since 1999 with David Bell, Russ Davis, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriguez.

• The 13-0 victory was the seventh in Mariners history where they've scored 13 or more runs in a shutout and first since a 13-0 win on July 2, 2003, at Oakland. Seattle has won three 14-0 shutouts and four 13-0 shutouts.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Mitch Haniger, Felix Hernandez, James Paxton

Who ya got? Ichiro vs. mascot in pillow fight

No one can question how much Ichiro enjoys baseball. He loves it all -- the art of hitting, the athleticism of running down a ball in the gap, the pillow fights ... wait, what?

Before the Mariners' game against the Rangers on Sunday, Ichiro spied the mascot Rangers Captain menacing the visitors' dugout with a pillow and stepped up to the challenge.

Cano paces rout, but Mariners ousted from WC

Gonzales allows 1 hit over 6 innings to end shaky stretch
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ARLINGTON -- Having lost half his season to an 80-game suspension, Robinson Cano isn't going to put up his usual numbers this year. But the Mariners second baseman is finishing with a flourish as he cranked a three-run homer in Saturday's 13-0 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park to continue his recent tear and support Marco Gonzales' six-inning gem.

The blowout win momentarily staved off playoff elimination for the Mariners, but the reprieve was brief as they were mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention an hour later when the A's racked up another walkoff win, 3-2, over the Twins to put their record at 94-61.

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ARLINGTON -- Having lost half his season to an 80-game suspension, Robinson Cano isn't going to put up his usual numbers this year. But the Mariners second baseman is finishing with a flourish as he cranked a three-run homer in Saturday's 13-0 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park to continue his recent tear and support Marco Gonzales' six-inning gem.

The blowout win momentarily staved off playoff elimination for the Mariners, but the reprieve was brief as they were mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention an hour later when the A's racked up another walkoff win, 3-2, over the Twins to put their record at 94-61.

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Cano went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and four RBIs to hike his average to .301. The 35-year-old is 11-for-15 with five doubles, a homer and seven RBIs over his last four games, putting him at nine homers and 46 RBIs in 73 games.

"The main thing here is just winning games," Cano said. "Sometimes it's not about individual numbers. But you want to do good, for sure. You don't want to just pack it in and go home."

Video: SEA@TEX: Cano drives in Haniger with a double to left

The 13 runs set a season high for the Mariners and the winning margin was their biggest of the year, replacing the 9-0 victory they racked up two games ago in Houston. They finished with 16 hits, one shy of their season best.

Seattle has gone 6-3 with one game remaining on its final 10-game road trip and at 85-69 has already won more games than all but eight teams in the franchise's 42-year history with eight games left. The Mariners' road record of 44-36 is tied for the fifth-most wins in franchise history, and they have a chance to move into a tie for third with a victory in Sunday's series finale.

Cano's fifth-inning homer broke a scoreless tie and made a winner of Gonzales, who allowed just one hit over six frames with one walk and three strikeouts. The 26-year-old improved his team-leading win total to 13 with his first victory since July 29, as he's now 13-9 with a 4.12 ERA with potentially one remaining start.

Gonzales had gone 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA over his last six starts, though he's been much better his last three outings since returning from a two-week disabled list stint to allow a strained neck muscle to heal.

"I've felt great in the past two starts, but tonight, I finally felt like I executed to my standards of what I think I can do," Gonzales said. "I was really encouraged. The first batter [a leadoff walk] didn't go like I wanted, but I felt on my game after that."

Video: SEA@TEX: Gonzales tosses 6 scoreless to earn 13th win

Manager Scott Servais said he didn't know if Gonzales would make another start or not but certainly was pleased with what the youngster has accomplished in reaching a career-high 28 starts and 161 2/3 innings, saying it looks like he's got more left in the tank.

"Awesome job by Marco," Servais said. "He's had a heck of a season. It's been a complete year for him and it's nice to see him end this way. It's important to end on a positive note. You're going to have some rough stretches when you get out there and make 28-30 starts in this league. But I'm really happy for him to come back strong like he has."

Video: SEA@TEX: Servais on Gonzales' start, 13-0 win

With James Paxton scheduled to rejoin the rotation on Monday and Felix Hernandez aiming for a Wednesday return, the Mariners can start shutting down some of their starters soon. But Gonzales wants to finish what he started.

"I'm a competitor. I want to go out there and pitch," Gonzales said. "If I get one more, that would be great. I want to go out there and compete."

The Mariners broke things open late as Mike Zunino added a solo homer in the sixth, his 20th of the season, and Dee Gordon added a two-run shot in the eighth off Bartolo Colon. Mitch Haniger extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two doubles in a 3-for-5 night, while Nelson Cruz regained his team-lead in RBIs at 92 by going 2-for-4 and driving in a pair of runs.

Video: SEA@TEX: Zunino crushes his 20th homer of the season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After being stymied for six innings by Gonzales, the Rangers rallied against reliever Nick Vincent to load the bases with one out in the seventh with a walk by Nomar Mazara and singles by Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor. But Vincent induced a 6-4-3 double play grounder by Isiah Kiner-Falefa to escape that jam and preserve a 5-0 lead, which loomed large before the Mariners teed off on Texas' bullpen.

Video: SEA@TEX: Vincent induces 6-4-3 DP to leave bases full

SOUND SMART
Haniger hiked his season total in doubles to 37, to go with 26 homers and 91 RBIs. The only other Mariner outfielder to combine 35-plus doubles, 25-plus homers and 90-plus RBIs? That would be one Ken Griffey Jr. (in 1992 and '93).

Gonzalez's 13 victories are the most by a Mariners lefty since Jason Vargas won 14 games in 2012.

Video: SEA@TEX: Segura, Cano turn inning-ending double play

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kyle Seager isn't known for his speed and Gordon isn't known for his power. But Seager recorded his first triple of the year with a 102-mph line drive through the shift in right field, the ball clearing second baseman Odor and handcuffing right fielder Mazara before rolling to the wall. Gordon then followed with a drive over the fence in right, projected at 386 feet by Statcast™, for his third homer of the year and 14th of his eight-year MLB career.

"I don't know how Seager top-spinned that ball right between those guys," Servais said. "He beat the shift. It doesn't happen often for him, but he did. And Dee has been swinging the bat pretty good without a whole lot to show for it. He said, 'Screw it, they can't catch this one if I hit it over the fence.' I'm happy for him. I know it's been a bit of a frustrating year for him offensively. A lot of good, positive things tonight."

Video: SEA@TEX: Gordon drives a 2-run homer to right-center

HE SAID IT
"I've been working with my hitting coach and getting here early, really working to stay back and use the whole field. It's been working. I'm not chasing pitches, just looking for pitches I can drive and ones I can hit." -- Cano, who has hit .455 (15-for-33) with 12 RBIs over the first nine games of the Mariners' road trip

UP NEXT
Wade LeBlanc (8-4, 3.49 ERA) starts the Mariners' final road game of the season as they take on Rangers lefty Martin Perez (2-6, 6.33) in the 12:05 p.m. PT series finale from Globe Life Park on Sunday. Despite a career-high 152 innings pitched, LeBlanc is finishing strong as the 34-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA over his past five outings. He's 1-0, 1.59 ERA in two starts vs. Texas this season.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Marco Gonzales

Ramirez has shortest outing of '18 in rainy loss

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ARLINGTON -- A short start for Erasmo Ramirez turned into a rough night for the Mariners as Texas rolled to an 8-3, rain-shortened victory in Friday's series opener at Globe Life Park.

The game was called after lightning and a heavy downpour opened up with two out in the top of the seventh inning. It was the first weather-shortened game in the history of the park, which opened in 1994 and will be replaced in 2020 by a retractable-roof stadium currently being built next door.

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ARLINGTON -- A short start for Erasmo Ramirez turned into a rough night for the Mariners as Texas rolled to an 8-3, rain-shortened victory in Friday's series opener at Globe Life Park.

The game was called after lightning and a heavy downpour opened up with two out in the top of the seventh inning. It was the first weather-shortened game in the history of the park, which opened in 1994 and will be replaced in 2020 by a retractable-roof stadium currently being built next door.

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Ramirez lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his briefest outing of the season, allowing six runs on four hits and a pair of walks as the Mariners dropped to 5-3 on their road trip with the lopsided loss.

Robinson Cano continued his recent hot streak with a 2-for-3 night as he's 8-for-11 in the past three games to hike his average to .295. Dee Gordon also went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored and Mike Zunino was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, but the Mariners couldn't recover from a 7-0 deficit.

Video: SEA@TEX: Zunino lines an RBI double to deep left

"We did hit some balls OK, but we dug ourselves a big hole and that's tough to come out of," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "It was not our night."

After winning their season series over the American League West-leading Astros, the Mariners are now 6-7 against the last-place Rangers. The two teams still play six times in the remaining nine games.

At 84-69, the Mariners' Wild Card elimination number -- any combination of Oakland wins or Seattle losses -- is down to 1, after the A's beat the Twins Friday night.

Ramirez gave up a three-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the first to put the Mariners in a quick hole. Beltre's opposite-field shot was his seventh in the past 14 games and 476th of his career, moving him past Stan Musial and WIllie Stargell into 30th on MLB's all-time list. Beltre's two-run single in the third ended Ramirez's night.

Video: SEA@TEX: Beltre climbs homer list, drives in 5 runs

"What can I say? Just back-to-back road starts where I was fighting a little bit with my pitches," Ramirez said. "Beltre got good contact on a good pitch, but he's a good hitter. There's nothing I can say about it. It was his night."

After allowing just three home runs in his first six starts after coming off the disabled list in mid-August, Ramirez has surrendered four long balls in 6 2/3 innings in his last two outings. He's now 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA in eight starts since rejoining the rotation.

"He's just not very crisp," Servais said. "He's really struggling to get a feel for his secondary pitch. It's a lot of fastball cutters and he's missing in the middle of the plate. The home run, Beltre hit it to the right spot of the park, but he still didn't get the ball where he wanted. … He just hasn't been sharp in locating his stuff."

Video: SEA@TEX: Servais on rain-shortened loss to Rangers

SOUND SMART
Mitch Haniger extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a seventh-inning double. He's batted .400 (16-for-40) with six extra-base hits and nine runs in that span. Haniger also drove in a run with a fifth-inning groundout to regain the team lead from Nelson Cruz in RBIs with 91.

Video: SEA@TEX: Haniger plates Gordon on RBI groundout

HE SAID IT
"We'll see. We have guys coming back into the rotation. We're trying to get the Oakland series set and we'll see how these guys throw in this series and then see how it all lines up for that last series against Texas." -- Servais, on whether Ramirez will get one more start next week during the final homestand

UP NEXT
Marco Gonzales (12-9, 4.28 ERA) gets the start in Saturday's 5:05 p.m. PT game against Rangers lefty Mike Minor (12-7, 4.14) at Globe Life Park. Gonzales has pitched five innings in each of his two starts since coming off DL as the Mariners are being cautious with his workload. After a strong first half, the 26-year-old is 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in six starts since Aug. 3.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Dee Gordon, Erasmo Ramirez, Mike Zunino

Haniger a top-notch leadoff guy, Servais says

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ARLINGTON -- As the Mariners play out the final days of the regular season, there are still lessons to be learned as the club goes into the offseason. One thing that seems to be clearer and clearer, they appear to have discovered a potent leadoff hitter in Mitch Haniger.

The 27-year-outfielder blossomed into an American League All-Star outfielder this season in his second full year in the Majors. But he has taken his game to another gear in the last six weeks since being shifted to the top of the batting order.

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ARLINGTON -- As the Mariners play out the final days of the regular season, there are still lessons to be learned as the club goes into the offseason. One thing that seems to be clearer and clearer, they appear to have discovered a potent leadoff hitter in Mitch Haniger.

The 27-year-outfielder blossomed into an American League All-Star outfielder this season in his second full year in the Majors. But he has taken his game to another gear in the last six weeks since being shifted to the top of the batting order.

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While Haniger has the ability to hit anywhere in the lineup -- he batted third in 60 games this year and even filled in at cleanup for 10 games in one stretch -- manager Scott Servais said prior to Friday's series opener against the Rangers that batting leadoff seems to have helped Haniger in other aspects of his game as well.

"Mitch in the leadoff spot has been a little more aggressive player in the outfield and on the bases than maybe he was when he was hitting down in the lineup, for whatever reason," Servais said. "I think his outfield play has been much better in the second half. He was good in the outfield, don't get me wrong, but I think it's been really at a high level.

"I think [playing some] center field has helped that, too," said Servais. "In center, you tend to take control and take charge a little more. And in right field, there have been a number of really nice plays this year. Certainly in the second half, he seems more aggressive out there."

Haniger has hit .333 (52-for-156) in 37 games in the leadoff role, with 15 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 18 RBIs and 28 runs. While not the base stealing threat of Dee Gordon, Haniger's season on-base average of .366 is well above Gordon's current .287.

Video: SEA@LAA: Haniger crushes his 25th home run of season

"He does it a little differently," Servais said. "More the George Springer/Mookie Betts type where there's real pop at the top of the lineup, which isn't your traditional leadoff guy. I like having him there and it's been really good for our offense. The consistency he's had, just on his approach, has been really good from that spot."

Defensively, Haniger is tied for the Major League lead with 12 outfield assists and has made some outstanding catches. He's started 124 games in right field and 22 in center. The offseason plan won't be discussed yet, but Servais indicated his personal preference is to keep Haniger in the corner spot.

"I like him in right, in a perfect world," Servais said. "The wear and tear in center, there's a lot more going on out there. He's certainly done a really good job in center. Could he run out there for 100-110 games in center? He probably could and do just fine. It just looks and plays and feels more natural [in right field]."

Paxton could get two more starts
James Paxton threw a bullpen session prior to Friday's game and if he shows no lingering issues from last week's bout with pneumonia, will return to the rotation either Monday or Tuesday against the A's and could start twice in the final seven-game homestand.

Felix Hernandez, who has been sidelined since Sept. 8 with a tight right hamstring, rejoined the team in Texas and played flat-ground catch on Friday. He'll throw a bullpen on Saturday to see if he's OK to get one final start this season later next week.

While the Mariners want Paxton to get the final starts to increase his innings workload and progress closer to the preferred 180-200 range for next year, the veteran Hernandez has no need to build or prove his durability.

"He's had a lot of innings, no doubt," Servais said. "I think he just wants to feel healthy and feel good about going into the next year. One more outing, a productive outing, would be good to see. He wants to pitch again, no question about it. That's why he's here. If that wasn't the case, he'd probably shut it down. But he wants to get back out there."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Mitch Haniger

30 best games of '18 -- 1 player from each team

MLB.com @RichardJustice

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

Here we go: 30 special individual performances for 30 teams:

American League East

Blue Jays: Yangervis Solarte
Date: May 3 vs. CLE
The infielder collected five hits, including a decisive 11th-inning grand slam, in a 13-11 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field. He became the second player in the live-ball era with at least five hits, including an extra-inning grand slam. The other was Jim Rice in 1984.

Orioles: Manny Machado
Date: 
May 11 vs. TB
Machado hit two home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam, and drove in six as the Orioles beat the Rays, 9-4, at Camden Yards. At 25, he became the youngest Orioles player to hit 150 home runs. "Words can't even describe how exciting that it is, reaching that milestone," he said.

Rays: Ji-Man Choi
Date: 
Sept. 10 vs. CLE
Choi's two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning produced a 6-5 victory over the Indians. In one swing, he kept Tampa Bay's postseason hopes alive and extended its home winning streak to 12 games.

Video: NYY@BOS: Betts his slam, collects four hits vs. Yanks

Red Sox: Mookie Betts
Date: 
April 10 vs. NYY
Betts scored five runs and collected four hits, including two doubles and a grand slam, in a 14-1 victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Yankees: Luis Severino
Date:
May 2 at HOU
Severino struck out 10 Astros in the first complete game of his career, a 4-0 victory at Minute Maid Park. "I wouldn't want to be in the box facing him," teammate Giancarlo Stanton said. "He's going to pound the zone at 100 mph, and if you look on time for that, you're going to get that 90-mph slider. It's exactly what we needed tonight and another par-for-the-course outing for him."

AL CENTRAL

Video: Must C Clutch: Lindor homers twice to hold off Twins

Indians: Francisco Lindor
Date:
May 31 at MIN
Lindor had two doubles, two homers and four RBIs in a 9-8 win over the Twins at Target Field. He joined Adrian Beltre, Jim Edmonds and Rafael Palmeiro as the only players since 1908 to have two such games in the same season.

Royals: Jorge Lopez
Date:
Sept. 8 at MIN
Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning in the seventh start of his career. The 25-year-old right-hander walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, then allowed a hit before departing in what would be a 4-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.

Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
Date:
Aug. 13 vs. CWS
Castellanos went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs in a 9-5 victory over the White Sox. Among the hits was a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning off Jeanmar Gomez.

Twins: Eddie Rosario
Date:
June 3 vs. CLE
With his father sitting a few feet from home plate, Eddie Rosario homered three times, including a two-run walk-off shot that gave the Twins a 7-5 victory over the Indians at Target Field. "It was Rosie's day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've seen a lot of good days in the big leagues. But I don't know if I've seen one that was more dramatic than that as far as the first inning all the way through the end."

White Sox: Matt Davidson
Date: 
March 29 at KC
Davidson became the fourth player to hit three home runs on Opening Day as the White Sox rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Royals, 14-7, at Kauffman Stadium. "What an incredible day he had," teammate James Shields said. "Really happy for him. He works his butt off every day, and to have a day like that is pretty special."

AL WEST

Video: LAA@NYY: Trout goes 5-for-5 with career-high 4 XBHs

Angels: Mike Trout
Date:
May 26 at NYY
Trout had a home run, three doubles and an infield single in an 11-4 victory at Yankee Stadium. "He's an unbelievable player and I think he showed that tonight," Yankees starter Sonny Gray said. "He put some good swings on the ball and in the fourth, he hit that homer. That was ultimately the icing on the cake for me."

Astros: Gerrit Cole
Date:
 May 4 at ARI
Cole struck out 16 D-backs in a one-hit complete game, an 8-0 victory at Chase Field. He finished it with a 99-mph fastball to strike out Jarrod Dyson. "Wow," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "It's hard to describe. It's an incredible display of pitching."

Athletics: Sean Manaea
Date:
April 21 vs. BOS
Manaea threw the seventh no-hitter in Oakland A's history in a 3-0 victory over the Red Sox at the Coliseum. "I've caught a lot of great pitchers in this game," A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy said, "and that was the most well-pitched, well-executed game I've ever had behind the plate."

Video: Paxton tosses sixth no-hitter in Mariners history

Mariners: James Paxton
Date:
May 8 at TOR
Paxton returned to his native Canada to no-hit the Blue Jays, 5-0, at Rogers Centre. It was the first complete game of his career. "To have it happen in Canada. What are the odds?" Paxton said. "Just very special."

Rangers: Rougned Odor
Date:
July 28 at HOU
Odor hit two home runs and had a double and two singles in a 7-3 victory at Minute Maid Park. "We talked about finding his swagger, getting his swagger back, getting that confidence back," then-Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Know that you're a really good player and just go show it and stay focused on every single pitch."

NL EAST

Video: Must C Classic: Acuna's 2 homers make history

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Date:
Aug. 14 vs. MIA
Acuna homered twice and added a single in a 10-6 victory over the Marlins at SunTrust Park. The 20-year-old hit the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning to become the youngest player ever to homer in five consecutive games. "He's the best player I've ever seen," Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte said. "He's just unbelievable."

Marlins: Jose Urena
Date:
Aug. 19 at WSH
Urena retired the final 16 Nationals in a complete-game 12-1 victory at Nationals Park. "You can just see the fire in his eyes every time he's out there," Marlins shortstop JT Riddle said.

Video: NYM@CHC: deGrom K's 10, notches 2 hits vs. Cubs

Mets: Jacob deGrom
Date:
Aug. 28 at CHC
deGrom struck out 10 Cubs and allowed one run in an eight-inning masterpiece of a loss at Wrigley Field. "The guy is as advertised," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's different. That's another level of stuff."

Nationals: Max Scherzer
Date:
May 6 vs. PHI
Scherzer struck out 15 Phillies in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-4 victory at Nationals Park. He was the first pitcher in history to get 15 strikeouts in 6 1/3 (or fewer) innings. "He doesn't slow," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. "I watch him in the gym. I watch him watch video. His mind is constantly going and constantly learning."

Phillies: Odubel Herrera
Date:
June 22 at WSH
Herrera scored four runs and had four hits, including a homer, in a 12-2 victory at Nationals Park. "It's simply incredible what he can do," teammate Zach Eflin said. "The thing with Odubel is that he can shake off anything at any given time. He can look like he's struggling and next pitch he sends it 440 feet."

NL CENTRAL

Video: MIL@CIN: Yelich records cycle with 6 hits, shows arm

Brewers: Christian Yelich
Date:
Aug. 29 at CIN
Yelich hit for the cycle -- the first of two Yelich cycles this season -- and had six hits in all in a 13-12, 10-inning victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. "I've never seen a game like that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's coming up there and you're thinking he can't do it again, and he does it again."

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Date:
July 20 at CHC
Carpenter became the second player in MLB history to hit three homers and two doubles in a game. He did it all in in six innings in an 18-5 victory at Wrigley Field. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this," Carpenter said.

Cubs: David Bote
Date:
Aug. 12 vs. WSH
Bote delivered a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field to turn a 3-0 loss into a 4-3, walk-off victory over the Nationals. He became the first Cubs player to hit a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam since Earl Averill in 1959.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon
Date:
April 8 vs. CIN
Taillon tossed a one-hitter and drove in Pittsburgh's first run in a 5-0 victory over over the Reds at PNC Park. It was Pittsburgh's first complete-game one-hitter since A.J. Burnett shut out the Cubs in 2012. "This guy, he's special," Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said.

Reds: Scooter Gennett
Date:
May 26 at COL
Gennett collected five hits -- a first-inning home run and four singles -- and was part of a game-ending defensive play to close out a 6-5 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field.

NL WEST

D-Backs: A.J. Pollock
Date:
April 30 vs. LAD
Pollock hit three home runs in an 8-5 win at Chase Field. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well right now," he said. "I don't know. Some days it just works."

Video: Must C Classic: Puig crushes 3 homers vs. Cardinals

Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
Date:
Sept. 15 at STL
Puig launched three home runs and drove in seven runs in a 17-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Puig explained his power surge as only he can: He said the grasshoppers that have swarmed Busch Stadium have gotten him going. He said he considered eating one or two. Manager Dave Roberts had a better explanation. "He's focused and he understands the importance of every pitch," he said. "And when he does that, he's as good as anybody in baseball."

Giants: Andrew McCutchen
Date:
April 7 vs. LAD
McCutchen went 6-for-7 with four RBIs, including a walk-off home run, in a 14-inning, 7-5 victory over the Dodgers at AT&T Park. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called the victory "epic" and added, "It's one of those Giants-Dodgers games that will be talked about."

Padres: Christian Villanueva
Date:
April 3 vs. COL
Villanueva belted three home runs in his 14th career game in an 8-4 victory over the Rockies at Petco Park. "I have a lot of dreams, I have a lot of goals, and I think, little by little, I'm starting to reach them," Villanueva said.

Rockies: DJ LeMahieu
Date:
June 28 at SF
LeMahieu's go-ahead home run at AT&T Park probably did more than give the Rockies a 9-8 victory. It came at a time when they were in fourth place in the NL West and had fallen eight games off the pace. There was speculation they might sell at the Trade Deadline. The Rockies won 44 of their next 69 games. Only the Cubs did better in that time.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Youth is served: Mariners' best rookie this year

MLB.com

Each year, a new group of rookies sets out to make a mark in the Major Leagues, and in 2018, many of these young players have made history with their performances. They're fueling clubs during postseason races, as well as giving fans a glimpse of what's to come in the years ahead.

With the aid of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a look at each team's best rookie this season:

Each year, a new group of rookies sets out to make a mark in the Major Leagues, and in 2018, many of these young players have made history with their performances. They're fueling clubs during postseason races, as well as giving fans a glimpse of what's to come in the years ahead.

With the aid of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a look at each team's best rookie this season:

Video: Callis looks at rookies' long-term futures

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki
Borucki has opened his Major League career with quality starts in 10 of his first 15 outings. Even though Borucki did not make his debut until the end of June, he has the third-most starts of at least six innings and two runs or fewer among Major League rookies. Only San Francisco's Dereck Rodriguez has registered more of those starts this season. Borucki appears to be a future cornerstone of the Blue Jays' rotation and his rookie campaign has been an overwhelming success with a 3.86 ERA.

Orioles: Cedric Mullins
It's been a tough year for Baltimore, but Mullins has given O's fans a glimmer of hope in the past two months. Since becoming the first Oriole to record three hits in his debut, the center fielder -- who moved Adam Jones over to right -- has showcased his range and speed and has become a table-setter for a lineup that sorely needs more dynamic players.

Rays: Joey Wendle
Tampa Bay acquired Wendle from Oakland during the Winter Meetings -- the same day the Yankees finalized their acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. Many found humor in how the Rays "answered" their division foe's acquisition. Wendle has hardly been a joke, though. He's played second base, third base, shortstop, right field and left field. While Wendle's glove has been dazzling as billed, particularly at second, his bat has been equally so. He always seems to be in the middle of rallies. Wendle has above-average speed and runs out every ball, and he's shown decent power. He has been a big reason for Tampa Bay's marked improvement this season.

Red Sox: Brian Johnson
Out of options, Johnson had no option but to become a dependable contributor for the Red Sox this season, and that's exactly what he has done. Though he has unspectacular numbers (4-4, 4.24 ERA), Johnson has been one of the most important members of the pitching staff for manager Alex Cora because of his ability to move seamlessly between the bullpen and starting rotation, and often doing both roles within days of each other. In 12 starts, Johnson is 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA. He could have a few more wins, but he was taken out just shy of five innings numerous times.

Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Nothing was handed to Andujar, who made the most of an early-season opportunity when Brandon Drury landed on the disabled list to grab hold of the third-base job. Andujar's calling card is his bat, and he quickly cemented a reputation as an extra-base hit machine, tallying the third-most extra-base hits by a rookie in Yankees history behind Joe DiMaggio (88) and Aaron Judge (79). The AL Rookie of the Month in June and August, Andujar has worked to polish his defense. With Gleyber Torres also enjoying a strong season, the Yanks have two legitimate choices to follow Judge as the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner.

Video: BOS@NYY: Andujar opens scoring with a solo HR in 2nd

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Shane Bieber
Indians manager Terry Francona jokes that Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, did not bring Bieber to MLB camp in the spring because the manager would not have let the pitcher return to the Minors. Bieber, 23, cruised through Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 1.47 ERA with 77 strikeouts vs. seven walks in 79 2/3 innings. When the back of Cleveland's rotation ran into some issues, Bieber rose to the big leagues. He debuted in late May and returned for good in June. The rookie has enjoyed a promising campaign and figures to be a part of the Tribe's postseason pitching staff.

Royals: Brad Keller
Keller, a right-hander, was an absolute steal in the Rule 5 Draft. He started the season in the bullpen and eventually graduated to the rotation, where he has been arguably the Royals' best starter and certainly a top-of-the-rotation guy moving forward. Opposing hitters throughout the season have called facing Keller an "uncomfortable at-bat." His four-seam fastball, which hovers around 93-95 mph, moves like a cutter, and he has worked to develop an effective slider and changeup. During a recent six-game stretch, Keller went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA, permitting just a .645 OPS. While Keller, 23, likely won't win the AL Rookie of the Year Award -- especially with Shohei Ohtani, Torres and Andujar in the running -- he at least deserves some consideration. Keller is a lock for the rotation in 2019.

Tigers: Niko Goodrum
The Tigers took a chance on the former Twins second-round pick, extending a Spring Training invite in the hopes that his versatility and athleticism would help him stick while learning on the job in the big leagues. Much to their surprise, Goodrum has become essentially an everyday player and a cog in Detroit's lineup, with a .741 OPS that ranks second on the team to Nicholas Castellanos. He has made a start at every defensive position except center field, catcher and pitcher.

Twins: Jake Cave
The Twins took a chance on Cave in March, acquiring him from the Yankees for Minor League right-hander Luis Gil, and Cave has responded with a strong rookie season. The 25-year-old wasn't expected to play much this season, but with center fielder Byron Buxton out most of the year because of injuries and offensive inconsistency, the left-handed-hitting Cave has filled in nicely. He's capable of playing all three outfield positions and has shown some power offensively, hitting .257/.300/.458 with 11 homers and 13 doubles through his first 82 career games.

White Sox: Daniel Palka
The White Sox picked up the left-handed slugger off waivers from the Twins on Nov. 3, 2017. While he didn't break camp with the team, Palka not only leads the White Sox in home runs, but also set a single-season franchise record for most homers from a left-handed-hitting rookie. Palka has a knack for the big hit, having knocked out six home runs in the ninth inning. Left-handed reliever Jace Fry made a solid late-inning rookie impression, but Palka provided the biggest power boost.

Video: CWS@CLE: Palka breaks scoreless tie with HR to center

AL WEST

Angels: Shohei Ohtani
A rocky Spring Training created some questions about how Ohtani's talent would translate to the Majors, but he quickly erased those doubts once the regular season began. For two months, he dazzled as a two-way phenom for the Angels, emerging as a dominant right-handed pitcher with a triple-digit fastball and devastating splitter and an impact left-handed bat with impressive raw power. An elbow injury derailed his magical season and led to a Tommy John surgery recommendation earlier this month, but it hasn't prevented Ohtani from continuing to hit. He is the first player to log 10 pitching appearances and hit 20 home runs in a season since Babe Ruth in 1919, making him a front-runner for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Video: SEA@LAA: Ohtani goes back-to-back with Trout for 20th

Astros: Max Stassi
Stassi made his Major League debut during the Astros' 111-loss season of 2013, and he has bounced between the big leagues and Triple-A each season since while maintaining his rookie status. He's spent most of this year as Houston's backup catcher to Brian McCann, and he is hitting .233 with eight homers and 27 RBIs through 85 games. Stassi was on pace to catch more games than McCann, who missed a chunk of time with knee surgery, and Martin Maldonado, who was acquired in a July trade and cost Stassi significant playing time down the stretch.

Athletics: Lou Trivino
Trivino has been an absolute godsend for what's become a deep and dangerous Oakland bullpen, arriving in late April and quickly taking over setup duties behind All-Star closer Blake Treinen with a high-90s fastball and a mid-90s cutter -- a devastating duo. The flamethrowing right-hander singlehandedly bridged the gap for much of the first half before the midseason arrivals of Jeurys Familia, Shawn Kelley and Fernando Rodney, working multiple innings more times than not. Center fielder Ramon Laureano, who has been superb on both sides of the ball since his August promotion, also deserves consideration.

Mariners: Daniel Vogelbach
The 25-year-old first baseman made the Opening Day roster after a huge spring, then was sent down when he struggled at the plate in April. But after putting up good numbers again in Triple-A, Vogelbach has flashed his power potential with a couple of big home runs this week as a September callup, including a game-winning pinch-hit grand slam to beat the Astros on Monday.

Rangers: Ronald Guzman
This is a tossup between Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who did a terrific job in a utility role that included time at catcher. But Guzman has emerged as the Rangers' first baseman of the future by showing power, run production and superb defensive ability. There is still more improvement and development needed, but Guzman is among the AL rookie leaders in home runs and RBIs. His emergence also allowed Joey Gallo to take over in left field, which had been a troubled spot for Texas.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Video: STL@ATL: Acuna Jr. belts a solo smash for his 26th HR

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna has lived up to his top prospect status, as he spent the season's second half producing numbers baseball has seldom seen from a player who has not yet turned 21 years old. He introduced himself to the Majors in April and then suffered a late-May knee injury that sidelined him for a month. But when Acuna was moved to the top of Atlanta's lineup immediately after the All-Star break, the 20-year-old outfielder suddenly became one of the game's top catalysts and power threats. He became a strong NL Rookie of the Year Award candidate and likely earned some down-ballot NL MVP Award consideration.

Marlins: Brian Anderson
Not only has Anderson been the Marlins' top rookie in 2018, he has established himself as one of the young faces of the franchise. He's also built a case to be a top-five finisher in the NL Rookie of the Year Award balloting. On the big league roster from wire to wire, Anderson has played third base and right field. He will lead all NL rookies in games played and hits.

Mets: Jeff McNeil
McNeil was never a top prospect, and when he arrived in the big leagues, he first drew attention for his unusual knobless bat. But since he took over at second base following the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, he's been a revelation at the plate, commanding attention for his outstanding contact ability and all-around hitting prowess. McNeil hasn't slowed down, either -- he leads all rookies in hitting since his July 24 debut, including 17 multihit games in 54 contests, and is second among all players in triples in that span, with five.

Nationals: Juan Soto
Soto wasn't even the Nats' most heralded prospect coming into the year -- that was Victor Robles. But he's hit at an almost unprecedented level for his age, putting himself on lists alongside names like Griffey and Harper. Soto's combination of plate discipline and power marks him as a future star. He's not only a top NL Rookie of the Year Award candidate; he might even get some down-ballot consideration in the crowded NL MVP Award field.

Video: Must C Classic: Soto youngest to swipe 3 bags in game

Phillies: Seranthony Dominguez
One of the reasons the Phillies held first place in the NL East as late as Aug. 12 is Dominguez, who joined Philadelphia's bullpen in May. He posted a 1.85 ERA in 34 appearances through Aug. 3, striking out 49 and walking 13 in 39 innings, becoming manager Gabe Kapler's most trusted weapon with the game on the line. Dominguez struggled down the stretch as the former starter adjusted to a new role, but there is no question NL East batters are not looking forward to facing him in the future.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Freddy Peralta
Taylor Williams pitched in more games and Corbin Burnes is playing the most significant role among Brewers rookies down the stretch, but in terms of aggregate value this season, Peralta gets the nod. By making 14 starts, including a history-making 13-strikeout Major League debut on Mother's Day, Peralta helped hold together a starting rotation that was a quiet strength for much of the year despite Jimmy Nelson's year-long absence and significant disabled list time for Zach Davies, Wade Miley and others. Among Major League starters who pitched at least 70 innings, only Chris Sale had a lower opponents' average than Peralta.

Cardinals: Jack Flaherty
With respect to Harrison Bader (3.5 fWAR), Jordan Hicks (105 mph fastball) and Yairo Munoz (.275 average), it's Flaherty who has emerged as the star of St. Louis' loaded rookie crop -- and the Cardinals' new ace. Premature? Not if you consider how the on-the-playoff-bubble Cards manipulated their rotation so Flaherty will be on turn to start their most important game of the year, whether that's the NL Wild Card Game or a must-win during the season's final series. The 22-year-old has earned the responsibility: He ranks among the NL rookie starter leaders in strikeouts (first), starts (second), innings (second), ERA (fourth), wins (first), fWAR (second) and WHIP (third).

Cubs: David Bote
An 18th-round Draft pick in 2012, Bote was pressed into duty when Kris Bryant was injured and has delivered in the clutch. On July 26 against the D-backs, he smacked a game-tying two-run homer with one out in the ninth. On Aug. 12 against the Nationals, Bote delivered a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam in the ninth. That blast helped teach people how to pronounce his last name (it's bow-tee). He hit another walk-off homer on Aug. 24 against the Reds and is the first Cub since Bryant in 2015 with two walk-off homers in one season. Bote has helped support the Cubs' motto to be versatile, starting at second, third, shortstop and in the outfield.

Video: David Bote's heroics vs. the Nationals this season

Pirates: Richard Rodriguez
Far from a household name, the 28-year-old rookie has become a vital part of Pittsburgh's bullpen in his first extended Major League opportunity. Signed as a Minor League free agent, Rodriguez entered the week with a 2.57 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 63 innings over 56 appearances. Rodriguez doesn't possess overwhelming stuff, but he's getting the job done with a 92.9-mph four-seam fastball he throws about 75 percent of the time plus a swing-and-miss slider.

Reds: Jesse Winker
Winker gets the nod despite having his season cut in half by injury. After a slow start, he found his stroke and some power. Overall, Winker batted .299/.405/.431 in 89 games but was slashing .362/.465/.554 in June and July before his year was halted by right shoulder surgery in his non-throwing arm to repair an injury that nagged him even in the Minors. Expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training, the 25-year-old with great plate discipline could be an even bigger offensive threat when fully healthy.

NL WEST

D-backs: Yoshihisa Hirano
While Hirano is technically a rookie as far as Major League Baseball is concerned, he certainly was not inexperienced coming into this season after spending 11 seasons pitching in Japan. The D-backs signed him to a two-year contract during the offseason, and he has more than met their expectations. Used primarily in a setup role through the first five months of the season, Hirano's effectiveness -- along with his unflappable makeup -- eventually got him moved into the de facto closer's role in September.

Dodgers: Walker Buehler
In any year not involving Acuna or Soto, the Dodgers' 24-year-old sensation would likely have been a favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year Award. Since his April recall from the Minor Leagues, Buehler was a steady presence through Clayton Kershaw's extended absence and has since cemented himself beside Los Angeles' ace at the top of the rotation, allowing two or fewer runs in 17 of his 21 starts. With the Dodgers embroiled in a tight divisional race, he has a 1.62 ERA since the start of August, and with his season mark at 2.74, he could become Los Angeles' first rookie starter to post an ERA under 3.00 with at least 20 starts since Hideo Nomo in 1995.

Video: COL@LAD: Buehler K's career-high 12 over 6 frames

Giants: Dereck Rodriguez
The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez is steadily establishing his own identity as a ballplayer as well as his candidacy for a respectable finish in the NL Rookie of the Year Award balloting. The 26-year-old, who converted to pitching from playing the outfield, demonstrated his consistency by pitching at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in nine consecutive starts. Despite their losing record overall, the Giants are 9-8 when Rodriguez starts. What makes Rodriguez's story even more remarkable is that he did not pitch above Double-A in Minnesota's farm system last year. San Francisco signed him as a Minor League free agent last November.

Padres: Franmil Reyes
Reyes was left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft last December after leading all Padres Minor Leaguers in home runs in 2017. Thankfully for San Diego, he went unselected. Reyes' power is otherworldly, and he's made huge strides with his approach at the plate. The hulking 6-foot-5, 275-pounder is still a liability defensively. But he's grown into a legit middle-of-the-order game-changer.

Rockies: Ryan McMahon
Drafted as a third baseman but blocked at the hot corner by one Nolan Arenado, the 23-year-old McMahon made the Opening Day roster with eyes on the starting first-base job, but he was beat out by veteran Ian Desmond. After struggles at the plate and two extended Minor League stints, McMahon's .330 on-base percentage since his July 29 recall is fourth among Rockies. He has also shown a penchant for clutch homers -- four of his five 2018 long balls have come late in close games with Colorado trailing, including a memorable three-run walk-off shot against the Dodgers on Aug. 11.

These closers saved the day at record rates

Diaz has closed out two-thirds of Mariners' wins this season
MLB.com @AndrewSimonMLB

Anyone who has watched a Mariners victory in 2018 has stood a good chance of also witnessing an Edwin Diaz save.

Wednesday's 9-0 win at Houston was the 84th of the year for Seattle, and a rare blowout -- just the 28th that hasn't been saved by Diaz. The right-hander notched his 56th save on Monday, leaving him six shy of tying the MLB single-season record set by the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez in 2008. Diaz has 10 games remaining -- beginning Friday at Texas -- to match K-Rod. He also needs two more saves to pass Bobby Thigpen of the 1990 White Sox for sole possession of second place on the list.

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Anyone who has watched a Mariners victory in 2018 has stood a good chance of also witnessing an Edwin Diaz save.

Wednesday's 9-0 win at Houston was the 84th of the year for Seattle, and a rare blowout -- just the 28th that hasn't been saved by Diaz. The right-hander notched his 56th save on Monday, leaving him six shy of tying the MLB single-season record set by the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez in 2008. Diaz has 10 games remaining -- beginning Friday at Texas -- to match K-Rod. He also needs two more saves to pass Bobby Thigpen of the 1990 White Sox for sole possession of second place on the list.

View Full Game Coverage

Diaz's 2018 campaign has been impressive not only for his dominance (2.02 ERA, 120 strikeouts) and sheer number of saves -- but also his share of his team's wins. The 24-year-old has saved exactly two-thirds of Seattle's victories, the second-highest single-season rate in MLB history.

With that in mind, here are the closers who have saved the highest percentage of their team's wins:

1. Bryan Harvey (1993 Marlins): 70.3 percent
The father of Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, Bryan Harvey had some experience racking up saves for mediocre teams. In 1991, he made his first All-Star team when he saved 46 games for a .500 Angels club. After the '92 season, the Marlins selected Harvey from the Halos with their 10th pick (20th overall) in the Expansion Draft, and he turned in another brilliant All-Star season. The righty posted a 1.70 ERA and went 45-for-49 in save opportunities as Florida finished its inaugural season 64-98.

2. Edwin Diaz (2018 Mariners): 66.7 percent
Diaz has recorded all but two of Seattle's saves and converted all but four of his chances, in smashing the Mariners' single-season franchise record. His 29 saves in one-run wins this year is an MLB record, and he became just the fourth pitcher to save every game in a four-game series when he pulled off the feat from Aug. 9-12 at Houston.

Video: Diaz earns 4 saves in 4-game series sweep of Astros

3. Eric Gagne (2003 Dodgers): 64.7 percent
Pitching for an 85-win club, Gagne's 55 saves are now tied with John Smoltz (2002) for the fourth-highest single-season total. In those days, it was game over when Gagne jogged in from the Dodger Stadium bullpen to the sounds of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." After going 52-for-56 in save opportunities in 2002, Gagne was a perfect 55-for-55 the next year while posting a 1.20 ERA and winning the National League Cy Young Award.

4. Joakim Soria (2010 Royals): 64.2 percent
Kansas City (67-95 in 2010) was still stuck in what eventually became a 28-season playoff drought before back-to-back World Series appearances in '14 and '15. But Soria was hardly the issue during those lean years, saving 43 games with a 1.78 ERA and making his second All-Star squad in '10.

5. Mike Williams (2002 Pirates): 63.9 percent
The 2002 season came right in the middle of Pittsburgh's 20-year streak of finishing below .500, with the Bucs stumbling to a 72-89 mark. But Williams saved 46 of those victories, delivered a 2.93 ERA and represented the club at the All-Star Game.

6. Addison Reed (2013 White Sox): 63.5 percent
After winning 85 games the year before, Chicago stumbled to a 63-99 record in 2013, the club's most losses in a season since 1970. Although a 24-year-old Reed recorded 40 saves that year, he also contributed to some of the struggles by blowing eight opportunities. His 3.79 ERA is the 10th highest produced in a 40-save campaign.

Video: KC@CWS: Reed strikes out Bonifacio to earn the save

7. Randy Myers (1993 Cubs): 63.1 percent
Myers signed with Chicago as a free agent and proceeded to set a franchise record for saves that still stands with 53. He also remains the only southpaw in MLB history to save at least 50 games in a season, and he did so for an 84-78 Cubs squad that finished fourth in the NL East.

8. Roberto Hernandez (1999 Devil Rays): 62.3 percent
Not to be confused with the other pitcher of the same name who was once known as Fausto Carmona, this Roberto Hernandez collected 326 saves while pitching for 10 teams over 17 seasons. His career high of 43 came in Tampa Bay's second season of existence, when the club went 69-93.

9. Francisco Rodriguez (2008 Angels): 62.0 percent
The Halos reached 100 wins and ran away with the American League West title that year, and K-Rod played a major role in that success. The righty already had three consecutive seasons with 40-plus saves but took it to another level in 2008, setting a Major League record with 62 saves. He posted a 2.24 ERA, struck out 77 in 68 1/3 innings, and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award race.

Video: MLB.com breaks down K-Rod's record setting night

10. Danys Baez (2005 Devil Rays): 61.2 percent
The franchise was still a few years away from dropping the "Devil" in its name, making its first postseason appearance and reaching the World Series when it went 67-95 in 2005. Baez saved 41 of those victories in his lone All-Star campaign over a 10-year career. The righty saved just 12 more games after '05, during stops with four more clubs.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Edwin Diaz

Mariners hit 3 HRs, blank Astros in rout

Seven pitchers combine to hold reigning champs to five singles
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

HOUSTON -- The Mariners went with an "opener" for the first time on Wednesday and the idea worked so well, they closed out their season series with a 9-0 victory over the Astros.

With James Paxton still sidelined following a bout of pneumonia, manager Scott Servais opted for a bullpen day, started with one scoreless inning from rookie reliever Matt Festa and followed by a parade of six relievers who held Houston to five hits in the combined shutout.

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HOUSTON -- The Mariners went with an "opener" for the first time on Wednesday and the idea worked so well, they closed out their season series with a 9-0 victory over the Astros.

With James Paxton still sidelined following a bout of pneumonia, manager Scott Servais opted for a bullpen day, started with one scoreless inning from rookie reliever Matt Festa and followed by a parade of six relievers who held Houston to five hits in the combined shutout.

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Seattle's offense opened up as well, as home runs by Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia led an 11-hit attack and the Mariners' highest-scoring output since a 14-10 loss at Boston on June 22.

The nine-run winning margin was the biggest of the season for a Seattle squad that has specialized in close wins and still has a run differential of minus-38 despite being 16 games over .500.

The Mariners have seen their playoff hopes fade in a disappointing second half, but they proved plenty competitive against the defending World Series champion Astros, winning the season series, 10-9, after going 20-37 against Houston over the previous three years.

"That's a good ballclub over there, with good arms and a good lineup," Haniger said. "We always want to play them tough. We feel like we match up well with them and are in every game. Any team we play, we're trying to win and take the series. But it's always good beating them; they're the defending world champs, and it just speaks to what we've got in this clubhouse."

The Mariners are 5-2 on their 10-game road trip and head to Texas 84-68 overall with 10 games remaining, though their Wild Card elimination number (any combination of Oakland wins or Seattle losses) is down to four after the A's defeated the Angels on Wednesday night.

Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs to lift his average to .290, while Haniger continued his excellent run in the leadoff spot with a 2-for-3 night with three runs scored. He's hit .333 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 28 runs in 37 games since moving to the top of the order.

Video: SEA@HOU: Haniger cranks a solo home run to left

Festa, a 25-year-old who spent most of the year with Double-A Arkansas, retired the Astros in order in the first. Casey Lawrence wound up credited with the win after throwing three innings of one-hit ball. None of Seattle's seven pitchers was with the club when the season started.

"To throw nine zeros up there, it's hard to do, certainly against this team in this ballpark," Servais said. "But our guys were really sharp tonight. A few hadn't pitched in a long, long time, and they went out there and threw strikes and got soft contact early in the count, and it was a great result tonight."

Festa hadn't started a game at any level since a spot start two years ago for Class A Advanced Modesto. Servais pulled him aside after Tuesday's game and told him he'd be first up in the finale.

"I got so excited, I almost hugged him," Festa said. "I called my family, called by brothers, called my best friends. My phone was blowing up. Everybody was saying, 'You're starting, you're starting.' Well, I'm opening, but it was going to be exciting either way."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Mariners scored three runs off Dallas Keuchel in the first inning, included one that was literally "off" the former AL Cy Young Award winner, as Seager ripped a 99-mph line drive that deflected off Keuchel's head and into shallow right field. Keuchel shrugged off that glancing blow and stayed in the game, retiring the next 12 batters, but that RBI single was the fourth hit of the frame and gave Seattle a quick 3-0 lead.

Video: SEA@HOU: Seager rips RBI hit that caroms off Keuchel

"Nobody likes that stuff," said Seager. "Luckily, he was fine. He didn't even come out of the game. Thankfully, he's all right, but that's scary.