SEATTLE – It was going to happen eventually. He wasn’t going to remain perfect, even though he had been for the better part of three months.
Although it was inevitable, it’s still so unexpected in the moment, that you wonder how the pitcher or his team recovers in the moment.
But Edwin Diaz did, and his teammates did as well, with a a little help the Dodgers in a bizarre 5-4 victory in 10 innings Saturday.
With the bases loaded and one out and Kyle Seager at the plate, reliever Dylan Floro balked after being bothered by Cameron Maybin at third base, forcing home the winning run.
After converting his last 28 save opportunities and 47 of 50 in a stellar season, the Mariners closer finally had a hiccup in the situation he’s been absolutely stellar in this season – a one-run game. Diaz has closed out 24 games this season with no room for error.
Brought in to close out a one-run lead, Diaz retired the first hitter faced and quickly got ahead of left-hander slugger Max Muncy on three pitches. But the 1-2 count was worked full, which started the problems.
Not wanting to bring the go-ahead run to the plate by walking Muncy, Diaz didn’t give in, firing a 98-mph fastball at the bottom of the strike zone. Muncy was sitting on it, slamming a solo homer into the right-field seats. It left the outnumbered M’s fans in the crowd of 43,264 deflated and the vocal Dodger fans in pandemonium. Diaz stood on the mound in disbelief.
Diaz came back to strike out Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson to end the inning.
That Diaz only had a one-run lead to work with was product of another unexpected failure the inning before. Reliever Alex Colome, who came into the game riding a streak of 20 scoreless innings, served up a solo homer to Justin Turner and a mammoth solo homer to Cody Bellinger off the facade of the upper deck in deep right field. A 4-1 lead had been reduced to the slimmest of margins.
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