PHOENIX -- Before coming to the plate for a 10th-inning at-bat on Saturday night, Denard Span (D-Span) made a mistake. He didn't know it, but in a tied game, it could have been costly.During batting practice prior to Friday's series opener against the D-backs, Span noticed he had a bat
PHOENIX -- Before coming to the plate for a 10th-inning at-bat on Saturday night, Denard Span (D-Span) made a mistake. He didn't know it, but in a tied game, it could have been costly.
During batting practice prior to Friday's series opener against the D-backs, Span noticed he had a bat in his batch that had a crack in the handle. He asked a Mariners batboy to set it aside from the rest.
However, the batboy didn't set it far enough aside. And when Span exited the dugout to enter the on-deck circle at the start of the 10th on Saturday, he grabbed the broken bat by accident. Span proceeded to use it to smash a 414-foot home run into the pool at Chase Field, lifting the Mariners to a come-from-behind, 4-3 win.
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"When I said put it aside, I meant bring it out of the field area and put it somewhere in the locker room," Span said. "I guess he didn't do that and when I went up to hit, obviously, I grabbed it without knowing."
Span didn't realize he had used the broken bat until he returned to the dugout and the batboy asked him where he had grabbed the bat from.
"How about that?" Span said. "I did work out before the game, too."
Span, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, extended his hitting streak to six games by knocking his first home run since Aug. 9 and only his second since July 6. He went deep against D-backs left-hander Jake Diekman (Gut It Out), marking only his second long ball against a lefty this season.
"Denard's a pro, he really is," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's been huge in our clubhouse, as far as a leadership role and guys seeing how he goes about his business. Watch him on the field, how he goes about his at-bats, he just continues to grind and he got a good pitch off a tough lefty and he didn't miss it."
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It took more than Span's homer for the Mariners to complete the comeback win, which helped them keep pace in the American League West and AL Wild Card races -- they remained 5 1/2 games behind the Astros in the AL West and four games back of the A's for the second Wild Card spot.
Kyle Seager had a game-tying, two-run hit in the ninth and Edwin Diaz (Sugar) pitched the 10th to notch his 50th save of the season.
With the Mariners down to their final out, Seager ripped a double down the right-field line off D-backs closer Brad Boxberger (🎁🍔) to tie the game at 3. Prior to that, Seattle had only one run -- which came on a Mitch Haniger (Meetch) leadoff home run -- and had left 12 runners on base over the first eight innings.
Seager's clutch hit ended an 0-for-18 skid.
"I didn't really think about that. Boxberger's a tough at-bat; he's been a really successful closer," Seager said. "I was real fortunate it stayed fair."
Diaz pitched a scoreless 10th, but it wasn't his cleanest outing, as he gave up consecutive singles to Paul Goldschmidt (Goldy) and David Peralta (Freight Train) to open the inning. But the right-hander escaped the jam, getting Steven Souza Jr. (Souz) to ground into a fielder's choice and retiring Nick Ahmed (Slick Nick) and Ketel Marte (Pike) on flyouts.
On Friday, Diaz set the Mariners' single-season record by recording his 49th save. His 50th means that Servais will have to get a haircut to match Diaz -- lines and zig-zags shaved into the sides of his head.
"It's great, it's all in fun," Servais said. "It's really hard to get 50 saves in this league. It hasn't been done by many guys. Certainly our guys have got the ability. But to stay healthy, be as consistent as he has been all year, it's been huge for us. The number of close games we've won is directly attributed to Eddie's ability to lock it down."
Diaz became the 16th player in MLB history to record a 50-save season, and the youngest to do so. He has 32 games remaining to try to break the record of 62, set by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Haniger stays hot: After recording hits in his first three-at bats on Friday, including a fifth-inning homer, Haniger continued to rake in his return to Chase Field. The former D-backs outfielder hit his second leadoff home run of the season, homering for the third straight game, to boost his season total to 22.
Haniger, who played for Arizona before being traded to Seattle in November 2016, is having a career season. He has a hit in 20 of his last 24 games and has 34 hits in 23 games in August. Haniger is also thriving in the leadoff role, batting .375 (24-for-64) as the No. 1 hitter.
Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc (Frenchy) notched his first hit of the season, and only his second since 2013, with a two-out single in the sixth. However, the lefty is a career .250 hitter and even hit .318 (21-for-66) from 2010-11 while with the Padres. LeBlanc has 30 career hits, six of which have come against the D-backs, the most he has against any team.
On the mound, LeBlanc bounced back from a rough outing last time out, tossing six innings of one-run ball. He allowed four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
HE SAID IT
"I have to call him, so let's see what happens. Let's see if I can bring him to San Diego. But [Jean] Segura and Haniger told me they have a barber here, so let's see if we can get it [Sunday]." -- Diaz, on getting a barber lined up for Servais' upcoming haircut
Mike Leake (Spike) returns to the rotation when the Mariners conclude the three-game series against the D-backs on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PT at Chase Field. Leake was scratched from his last scheduled start on Tuesday due to illness. He tossed eight scoreless innings against the A's in his last outing on Aug. 15. The right-hander hasn't notched a win since June 23, but he has a 2.54 ERA over his last six starts. Zack Greinke will start for the D-backs.
Jake Rill is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in Phoenix.