After a shaky, two-run first inning, spot starter Cody Martin, along with four relievers, shut out the Angels for seven innings until closer Edwin Diaz gave up a run on three hits in the ninth. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Andrelton Simmons sent a hot grounder down the third base line, where Kyle Seager laid out for the catch and popped up for the throw to first to save a 4-3 win (box) Wednesday night in Anaheim, the Mariners’ 10th win in 12 games.
Before Seager’s sensational play, Diaz got himself into and out of a perilous jam. He had already given up a run on Yunel Escobar’s fifth hit of the game to cut the lead to 4-3. He struck out Kole Calhoun for the first out, but Mike Trout singled up the middle. CF Leonys Martin mistakenly threw to third in a failed attempt to get Escobar, allowing Trout to take second. Albert Pujols was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Diaz then struck out Jefry Marte on three sliders, all swinging, for the second out. Diaz kept going with the slider to Simmons, who worked the count full until the fateful screamer to Seager.
In the second inning, C Chris Iannetta’s infield single scored one run and Martin’s sac fly scored another to tie the game at 2. Two more came during the fourth on Ketel Marte’s sac fly and a nifty bit of base-running by Martin. SS Shawn O’Malley dropped a perfect bunt down the first base line for a single as Martin broke from second and rounded third. When the throw went to third, Martin kept running and scored.
2B Robinson Cano had three hits but Escobar nearly won the night with his 5-for-5 effort.
Martin, the 13th starter for Mariners this season, made his first start for Seattle after five relief outings in an earlier stint, although he was a starter for AAA Tacoma. He threw 88 pitches to get through one out in the fifth, leaving the bases loaded for Drew Storen, who struck out Trout and induced Pujols to fly out.
Storen pitched another inning, then Vidal Nuno, Tom Wilhelmsen and Arquimedes Caminero held serve until the drama with Diaz, who had never given up three hits in his short tenure as closer.
“The last pitch (to Simmons) was probably ball four. That last play was awesome. Seager seems to have a glove with Velcro — everything goes in there. It’s crazy, these games we play.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
“The first step was to try to stop it. Thankfully that happened. Then it was panic mode to make the throw to first. And Dae Ho (Lee) made the pick.” — Seager
“Even more impressive was the slider Diaz and Iannetta threw Simmons on a 3-1 count. That took some guts.” — Seager
The Mariners are 19-11 since the All–Star break, second-best in MLB to the Cubs and second-best in club history to 2001 . . . After being struck on the arm by a line drive Aug. 7, LHP James Paxton will throw a bullpen session Thursday in Angel Stadium, then probably pitch a few innings for Triple-A Tacoma Saturday before rejoining the rotation late next week. He can come off the disabled list Tuesday but probably won’t pitch until the next weekend . . . Since Aug. 1, the Mariners are batting .337 with runners in scoring position, the second-best average in the majors . . . Mariners pitchers are limiting opponents to a .237 average against with runners in scoring position, the second-best mark in MLB behind the Cubs (.206).
The finale of the four-game series is 7:05 p.m. Thursday, when RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (14-7, 3.84) seeks to match his career high of 15 victories against Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker (6-13, 4.22). The Mariners return for a six-game homestand that begins Friday with the first of three against Milwaukee.