SEATTLE -- For one last game in 2018, fans seated in the "Maple Grove" section at Safeco Field chanted "EH" every time Canadian lefty James Paxton had two strikes on a hitter.Paxton got strike three nine times on Saturday, finishing his season with six innings as the Mariners beat the
SEATTLE -- For one last game in 2018, fans seated in the "Maple Grove" section at Safeco Field chanted "EH" every time Canadian lefty James Paxton had two strikes on a hitter.
Paxton got strike three nine times on Saturday, finishing his season with six innings as the Mariners beat the Rangers to 4-1. Edwin Diaz snagged his 57th save to move into a tie for second on the all-time single-season saves list with Bobby Thigpen, five saves short of Francisco Rodriguez's 62-save season a decade ago.
The "Big Maple" took a no-decision to end the year at 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA, reaching career highs with 160 1/3 innings and 208 strikeouts. Strikeout No. 200 came three pitches into Saturday's game, when Paxton got Jurickson Profar swinging on a curveball.
"It was big," Paxton said. "It was great to get to 160 innings like I wanted to do, getting the 200th strikeout was really cool. It was special. Looking forward to building off this season and getting to where we want to get to next year."
Paxton's season, highlighted by the sixth no-hitter in Mariners' history in May, was limited to 28 starts due to a slew of physical issues such as back inflammation, being struck on the forearm by a comeback and most recently, pneumonia. Nonetheless, he didn't sustain any arm issues and said he learned things about his body that he'll take into the offseason.
"Overall, Pax had a solid season" manager Scott Servais said. "The injuries took away from what the overall numbers could have been, but he continues to improve and get better."
Paxton surrendered his lone run of the game on a first-inning RBI double by Adrian Beltre. Shortstop Jean Segura -- who was benched on Friday for failure to hustle on the bases -- made an errant relay throw that allowed Beltre to advance to third, but Paxton struck out his third batter of the inning to avoid further trouble.
Dee Gordon gave the Mariners the lead on an RBI triple in the seventh inning, yanking an 0-2 sinker into the right-field corner. It was his eighth triple of the year, good for third in the American League. Segura and Robinson Cano each delivered RBI singles later in the inning to pad Seattle's lead.
Setup man Alex Colome and Diaz got the game's final six outs as the Mariners improved to 76-0 when leading after seven innings. They are baseball's only undefeated team when taking a lead into the eighth this season.
"Good ballgame. Tonight was kind of our formula for most of the year, really," Servais said. "It was really consistent starting pitching, get us deep in the game, the game's tight and oftentimes -- certainly in the first half -- we would find a way to get the big hit, and that's what we did tonight with Dee Gordon's triple to get the two-out rally going."
Paxton is the sixth Mariners pitcher to reach the 200-strikeout mark. Felix Hernandez did it most recently in 2014. Paxton's 11.68 strikeouts per nine innings ranks fourth in baseball among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched.
Additionally, the Mariners are the only team in the Majors with five pitchers who each surpassed 150 innings pitched.
HE SAID IT
"It was OK. I'm not pleased with some of it. Obviously, I want to be out there the whole time. I think after I got hurt and it kind of took me a while to kind of get back going again, and I never really got my feet under me again and got really solid. Looking at next year, I want to stay healthy the whole time so that I can keep that consistency and stay at the top of my game for longer." -- Paxton, on his season
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Diaz hit Ronald Guzman with a pitch with one on and two outs in the ninth inning. The play was initially ruled a wild pitch, but after review officials determined the ball hit Guzman.
Lefty Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.93 ERA) starts Sunday's 12:10 p.m. PT season finale against Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 6.40). Elias has gone 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in three prior spot starts this year, including 3 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball in his last start Sept. 14 vs. the Angels. He allowed four hits and one run in 2 1/3 innings of relief at Texas last Friday.
David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.