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Relievers of the Month: Diaz, Vazquez

Mariners' closer reaches 40th save in dominant July; Bucs' fireman locked down winning streak
MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball honored Seattle's Edwin Diaz and Pittsburgh's Felipe Vazquez on Thursday as July's American League and National League Relievers of the Month presented by The Hartford.

Diaz has been nothing shy of sensational for the upstart Mariners, and that continued in the month of July. Seattle's closer converted all nine of his save opportunities and did not allow a single earned run over 10 appearances last month, striking out 19 batters and walking just two while holding opponents to a microscopic .063 batting average.

Major League Baseball honored Seattle's Edwin Diaz and Pittsburgh's Felipe Vazquez on Thursday as July's American League and National League Relievers of the Month presented by The Hartford.

Diaz has been nothing shy of sensational for the upstart Mariners, and that continued in the month of July. Seattle's closer converted all nine of his save opportunities and did not allow a single earned run over 10 appearances last month, striking out 19 batters and walking just two while holding opponents to a microscopic .063 batting average.

Video: Edwin Diaz named AL Reliever of the Month for July

Diaz's last save of the month marked his 40th of the 2018 season, making him just the fourth pitcher in Mariners history to reach that total in a single year. Diaz's 40th save in the Mariners' 106th game of the season also made him the second-quickest pitcher to ever reach that total by team games, according to ESPN Stats and Information, just behind Francisco Rodriguez (98 games) during his record-setting '08 season with the Angels.

Seattle is an astounding 50-3 in games in which Diaz toes the rubber.

"When Eddie Diaz is available and I have a chance to pitch him, I'm going to pitch him," Mariners manager Scott Servais said recently of Diaz.

Vazquez, meanwhile, overcame a sluggish start to post a dominant July for a Pirates club that's played their way back into the NL Wild Card race. The flamethrowing lefty recorded eight saves and a win last month, permitting just two earned runs over 12 1/3 innings while striking out 22 and walking just three. That included six saves during the Pirates' 11-game win streak from July 8-24, during which Vazquez posted seven clean outings and struck out half of the batters he faced. Vazquez has already tied Mike Gonzalez (2006) for the franchise record for most saves in a single season by a Pirates left-hander.

Video: Vazquez named the NL Reliever of the Month in July

"I've never seen anybody like that," Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage told MLB.com of Vazquez. "I just wish him so much success. Never have I seen a guy come in as the closer and throw four pitches."

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Edwin Diaz