HOUSTON -- Fernando Rodney often works himself in and out of trouble in save situations, but the Mariners closer inherited a most-difficult scenario on Saturday and delivered in Seattle's 9-8 win over the Astros.
Rodney entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, the Mariners clinging to a 9-8 lead that had evaporated from 9-2 in alarming fashion, when relievers Dominic Leone and Yoervis Medina struggled.
Rodney missed on his first fastball to Jose Altuve, then fired four straight strikes that Altuve fouled off before getting the diminutive second baseman to fly out to right field. Rodney then hit the first batter he faced in the ninth before retiring the next three Astros in order, two on strikeouts.
"I don't like it, but we had to do it," manager Lloyd McClendon said of the four-out save and first multi-inning appearance Rodney has made this year. "I just don't think he's that type of guy, because he's a high-pitch guy, so having him go more than one is not ideal, but we had to do what we had to do. We didn't have any wiggle room."
Rodney sometimes can be erratic throwing strikes, but catcher Mike Zunino said the 37-year-old was on point with the bases-loaded situation on the way to his seventh save of the season.
"He just attacked the strike zone," Zunino said. "In a situation like that, we had to go right after the guy. There was nowhere to put him. It was a tough guy at the plate with Altuve there and he made some big pitches."