Diaz relishes chance for first big league save

After Chapman can't hold lead in ninth, righty gets call to close out win

Diaz relishes chance for first big league save

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a wild night that featured more than a few unique moments, Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz got to have a special one of his own. In a 9-8, 10-inning victory over the Giants, it was Diaz who pitched the bottom of the 10th for his first big league save.

The circumstances that led to Diaz being needed were unusual. Regular closer Aroldis Chapman was summoned in the eighth inning to try for a five-out save. Chapman, who issued a walk to pinch-hitting Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, gave up one inherited run in the eighth when he hit Ehire Adrianza with the bases loaded. In the ninth, Chapman blew the save when the Giants scored two runs to make it an 8-8 game.

Chapman also threw 42 pitches, the second-highest total of his career.

"When you have the best closer in the league in Chapman and it's the ninth inning and you're up two runs, you think, 'Game over right here,'" Diaz said. "But when I saw him get in trouble, I said I've got to get ready just in case they call my name."

Todd Frazier hit a home run in the top of the 10th that put Cincinnati back on top. Diaz was ready to close it out.

Frazier's go-ahead homer in 10th

"It was so exciting when I saw Todd Frazier hit the homer; I said, 'I'm in the game,'" Diaz said. "It's my chance for a first big league save. I better go in there and throw a strike, get the three outs for the first save in my career.'"

Diaz, the seventh Reds pitcher used and the 16th in the game overall, struck out his first two batters -- pinch-hitter and former Reds pitcher Mike Leake and Adrianza, both on 98 mph fastballs. Alejandro De Aza followed with a long drive to right-center field. The ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, which was fortunate for the Reds. De Aza was already past second base when the ball bounced and might have tied the game with an inside-the-park homer.

"I had to focus and make a good pitch to [Angel] Pagan and get the out for the save," Diaz said.

Pagan popped out to Frazier on a 0-1 fastball to end the four-hour, two-minute game. Under the rules, Chapman was awarded the victory.

Diaz, 31, had 113 saves over 13 Minor League seasons. The Reds made sure Diaz got to keep the game ball.

"I've had a lot in the Minor Leagues but that one was so special because it was the first one in the big leagues."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.