SEATTLE -- Josh Kinney was two-thirds of his way to his first-career Major League save on July 30, but after walking a batter with two outs in the ninth inning, Mariners manager Eric Wedge played the percentages and brought in Lucas Luetge for a lefty-on-lefty matchup. It was Luetge who walked away from that game with his first-career save.
Kinney finally got another chance Sunday, gutting out a 2 1/3-inning, 42-pitch performance for an extended save.
"If I'd a had to go and finish my career and say, 'Well, I never got a save, but I was pretty close to getting one,' that would be a good story, too," Kinney said.
But don't get Kinney wrong, he wanted the save, and the 33-year-old is more than happy to be able to tell his save story with a different ending.
"I'm glad I got one, at least, to my name," he said with a grin. "Yesterday's game was cool. I threw a lot of pitches and it got ugly there at the end. I was cruising and then lost it on a couple of hitters. Wedge kept me in there, I'm glad he did. I'm glad Tom [Wilhelmsen] didn't have to come in, he had the day off. It was just good to get it over with, and I got a save."
Kinney also did the Mariners a favor. With Stephen Pryor not available and Wedge trying to stay away from Wilhelmsen, the closer, Kinney's extended appearance allowed the bullpen to start its series with the Indians on Monday with their closer available.
As for Luetge, well, Kinney has some bragging rights back.
"We're tied. We're on the leaderboard," he laughed. "We each have one behind Tom."