The Los Angeles Angels took a page out of Fernando Rodney's book on Sunday. In the process, they took the life out of Rodney's Seattle Mariners.
To close out the eighth inning of the game in Los Angeles, Rodney — the Mariners' closer — celebrated in his trademarked fashion. After closing out every inning, Rodney steps off the pitchers mound, drops to a knee and performs an imaginary "bow-and-arrow" motion to the sky.
Rodney, 37, has been in the major leagues for 12 years and has acted out the same celebration every year. Teams are used to Rodney's antics, including the way he wears hit hat, but the Angels took exception on Sunday.
In the ninth inning, with Rodney pitching, Mike Trout drew a walk to lead off the frame. The next batter, Albert Pujols, ripped a double to right field and scored Trout.
As he stood on second base, Pujols acted as if he was a pulling a bow out of a bag on his back and sent it flying towards home plate. Trout, meanwhile, did the same as soon as he scored the tying run.
It was a friendly jab at Rodney who has been used his method of jubilation as a friendly celebration for years.
"Rodney's Rodney," Trout told MLB.com. "He's out there competing. We're out there competing against him." Rodney was once an Angel. He played for the team from 2010-11.
"I didn't see that," Rodney said on MLB.com. "I'll have to check the film. They must've got emotional. ... I'm friends with everybody. Mike Scioscia is a great manager and a good person."
Pujols claims the move was not to bash Rodney, but to ignite a fire in the Angels dugout as they were trying to win the game in the ninth inning.
"I've known him for 15 years," Pujols to to Mariners.com. "Every time I see him, I tell him I'm going to do [the arrow pose] to him. I think he thought it was the last inning because on the board it said ninth. I did it to our dugout, not to Fernando."
The inspirational tactic paid off for the Angels as Grant Green singled up the middle to score Pujols for the winning run. Los Angels pulled off the 6-5 victory after totaling 16 hits in the game.
“He woke up our dugout,” Green told the Tacoma News Tribune. “He did it with Trout, Pujols, Josh (Hamilton) coming up. You don’t want to get them fired up or more wanting to get a hit than they normally do.”
Rodney was going for his 200th save of his career, but the attempt was unsuccessful. He has converted 27 saves this season but has three blown saves, now, after Sunday's blow up.
Seattle led 3-0 early in the game but the Angels were successful to chip away throughout the first eight innings before breaking out in the ninth.
Chris Young of the Mariners out dueled Angels' starter Tyler Skaggs to kick things off. Young did allow 10 hits and gave up three runs, but he struck out seven over six innings. Skaggs allowed five runs and six hits over 6 2/3.
Yoervis Molina and Joe Beimel each has solid relief appearances to keep Young in line for the win. They earned their 14th and seventh holds, respectively. Rodney blew the save and suffered his fourth loss of the season.
The win went to Joe Thatcher who allowed two hits in the top of the ninth inning.
He didn't celebrate his moment quite like Rodney did — a simple slow trot off the mound did the trick. While Rodney was shown up, he likely won't give up his showman style anytime soon.
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