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Diaz endures second straight rough outing

Seattle closer ready to put past struggles behind him
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Everyone knows that Edwin Diaz has electric stuff, but that doesn't mean the Mariners won't get shocked at times as well as the youngster develops in his first full season as a Major League closer.

The hard-throwing 23-year-old gave up two runs in the ninth inning Wednesday as the Phillies rallied for a 5-4 win at Safeco Field, leaving Diaz with his third blown save of the year and second straight rough outing against a Philadelphia team that owns the worst record in the Majors at 26-51.

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SEATTLE -- Everyone knows that Edwin Diaz has electric stuff, but that doesn't mean the Mariners won't get shocked at times as well as the youngster develops in his first full season as a Major League closer.

The hard-throwing 23-year-old gave up two runs in the ninth inning Wednesday as the Phillies rallied for a 5-4 win at Safeco Field, leaving Diaz with his third blown save of the year and second straight rough outing against a Philadelphia team that owns the worst record in the Majors at 26-51.

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"One-run lead in the ninth with Eddie Diaz out there, you usually feel pretty good about that," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "He just made a bad pitch today."

Diaz left a full-count fastball over the plate to Tommy Joseph, who tied the game with a leadoff homer in the ninth by turning around the 98-mph offering and driving it out to left field. After a pair of strikeouts, Diaz walked Cameron Perkins, balked him to second and gave up the go-ahead run on a single by Andrew Knapp.

On the heels of a rough ninth a night earlier when he gave up four runs in a non-save tuneup appearance after not pitching for five days, there is concern clearly with where the youngster is headed. Servais felt Diaz didn't have the right mental edge on Tuesday, but that wasn't the situation in the series finale.

"One hundred percent, I was ready today," Diaz said. "A couple mistakes happened that inning, but I was ready to pitch. I just missed a couple pitches, and I paid the price. If you miss, you will get hit."

Video: PHI@SEA: Servais on Hernandez, Diaz's outings in loss

Diaz hasn't been the same dominant force as in his rookie campaign, with a 3.77 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 15 walks in 31 innings compared to the 2.79 ERA and 88 strikeouts with 15 walks in 51 2/3 frames last year.

But he had pitched very well over the past month until Tuesday's struggle, and Servais said he'll remain the closer when Seattle opens a three-game set Friday in Anaheim.

"I would assume so. That's how we're built," Servais said. "There'll be times when he does give it up. That's the roller-coaster ride you get in that seat. But Eddie has great stuff. He has to execute better, get it tightened up, and we'll go from there."

Servais hinted at some unhappiness with Diaz staying too fastball heavy instead of going more to his slider.

"I thought he had opportunities to put some guys away with the slider and decided not to go with it, then made some mistakes with the fastball," Servais said. "If he's trying to go up, you've got to go up. He left it in the middle of the plate to Joseph. The pitch to Knapp was in the middle of the plate as well.

"Again, the life of a closer. You can be on top of the world and when you don't get it done, there's no worse feeling of letting your teammates down. It happens. We need to bounce back in a hurry."

Veterans Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez had already offered words of encouragement and advice by the time Diaz dressed and met the media after the game, and he clearly heard their message.

"I expect to be ready Friday to help the team win," said Diaz. "I have to flush this and be ready."

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

Seattle Mariners, Edwin Diaz