Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Cruz homers, but Mariners 'pen falters late

May 29, 2018

SEATTLE -- Edwin Diaz and the Mariners have been remarkable in close games this season, but the magic ran out Tuesday, as the Rangers flipped the script and pulled out a 9-5 victory with a ninth-inning rally at Safeco Field.Diaz, who came in sporting a 1.59 ERA and a Major

SEATTLE -- Edwin Diaz and the Mariners have been remarkable in close games this season, but the magic ran out Tuesday, as the Rangers flipped the script and pulled out a 9-5 victory with a ninth-inning rally at Safeco Field.
Diaz, who came in sporting a 1.59 ERA and a Major League-leading 19 saves, gave up four runs on three hits and a walk while getting just one out, as the Rangers snapped Seattle's four-game win streak and kept the Mariners from moving into a tie for first in the American League West.
"I think all my pitches today I didn't throw with a lot of confidence," said Diaz, who equaled his career high with four runs allowed. "I lost my fastball command a little, and they hit my pitches. They hit my mistakes."
Seattle had won nine of its previous 10 games, while the bullpen had allowed just one run in 27 1/3 innings. Six of the last seven wins came by a single run, as the Mariners successfully walked the tightrope each night. But after the Mariners rallied again to tie the game in the eighth on a bases-loaded groundout by Jean Segura, the Rangers responded with their breakout frame.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out before Rougned Odor drove a three-run double to left field off Diaz. Mariners manager Scott Servais brought in Chasen Bradford, who gave up a run-scoring double to Ronald Guzman.
Diaz normally relies on an upper-90s fastball to set up his wicked slider, but he didn't have a feel for the heater and switched almost exclusively to the slider on his final four batters.
"I don't think Eddie had the feel, or life, on the fastball," Servais said. "He was rushing a little tonight, and dragging. We have run him hard. He has pitched a lot early in the season. It's one of the reasons we got [Alex] Colome in here, and some other guys to help out."

Nelson Cruz homered for the Mariners, who fell to 33-21, still one game back of the Astros.
Felix Hernandez gave up a solo homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the first, but the Mariners veteran carried a 4-2 lead into the sixth before running into trouble.
After the Rangers loaded the bases with a double, single and walk, Hernandez was replaced by James Pazos. Two pitches later -- a wild pitch and a passed ball -- and the game was tied. Ronald Guzman's one-out single drove in the go-ahead run, as all three inherited runners scored, leaving Hernandez's line at five-plus innings, six hits and five runs, as his ERA climbed to a career-high 5.83 in 12 starts.

"We've been playing really good," Hernandez said. "I feel disappointed. I think I'm disappointing my teammates the way I've pitched my last four starts. That's the way I feel. I just have to figure it out, and go out and compete. The way we're playing, I just need to figure it out and be better."
After missing two games with a slight concussion, Segura returned to the top of the Mariners' lineup and went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Cruz went 2-for-4 and Mitch Haniger notched a two-run double.

Cruz heating up: After going 16 games without a home run, Cruz has two in his past four games, giving him nine this season. The designated hitter rifled a 2-2 fastball from Austin Bibens-Dirkx into Edgar's Cantina down the left-field line leading off the third to give Seattle a 4-2 lead, after Bibens-Dirkx had hit him in the hip with a pitch in the first. Cruz continues to tear it up against his former Rangers club, as he's now batting .435 (10-for-23) against Texas this year, compared to .190 against all other teams.
"It was the best swings he's had in quite some time," Servais said. "His timing is better, he's seeing the ball better. Look for him to get on a nice little hot run for us."
Hernandez's four strikeouts continued moving him past some impressive names on the all-time MLB list, though his accomplishment was muted by the loss. He passed Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax in 45th place with 2,396 strikeouts, and he is now tied for 44th with Kevin Brown at 2,397. Next up is another Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley, in 43rd with 2,401.
"It's only personal," Hernandez said. "It means a lot, but the only thing that matters is the Seattle Mariners as a team."

"I've been pitching good this year. We all have those days, where you come in the game and don't have your command. You have to battle. If something happens bad, flush it and come ready the next day." -- Diaz, on how he'll rebound from his struggles
Delino DeShields acted like he was hit by a pitch from Mariners reliever Ryan Cook in the sixth, and home-plate umpire Jerry Meals agreed. That would have loaded the bases for the Rangers with one out. But Servais challenged the call, and it was overturned. The replay showed the ball hitting the bat for a foul, instead of DeShields, who ended up striking out, which loomed large when Cook managed to get out of the inning with no further damage after Texas had already scored three runs to take a 5-4 lead.

James Paxton (4-1, 3.10 ERA) faces fellow left-hander Matt Moore (1-5, 7.99) when the Mariners host the Rangers for the third game of the four-game series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Paxton is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts -- including two complete games, one of which was a no-hitter -- since throwing four innings and allowing five runs on six hits in a no-decision at Texas on April 21. He's struck out 56 with eight walks in 44 innings in those six starts.

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