ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols mimicked Fernando Rodney’s celebratory bow-and-arrow routine as the Los Angeles Angels got to Seattle’s closer for one of their most dramatic comeback wins this season.
Pujols hit a tying double off the Mariners’ closer and Grant Green had a game-ending, bases-loaded single that lifted the Angels to a 6-5 win Sunday.
“Rodney’s one of the game’s best, and that’s a known fact,” the Angels’ Kole Calhoun said. “He’s an All-Star and somebody that they’re expecting to go out there every time and get the job done. But we’ve got one of the best offenses in the game, and we can put some runs up no matter who’s out there.”
Rodney (1-4), the former Angels’ closer, replaced Joe Beimel with one out in the eighth and retired the next two batters. He entered the ninth attempting to complete a five-out save for the 200th of his career, but the Angels rallied for their major league-leading 30th come-from-behind victory.
Mike Trout drew a leadoff walk and scored on Pujols’ 544th double, which broke a tie with Tony Gwynn for 28th place. When the three-time NL MVP pulled into second base, he mimicked Rodney’s bow-and-arrow routine.
“That’s his thing,” Pujols said. “I’ve known Rodney for 15 years, so we go way back. And every time I see him, I tell him I’m going to do that to him if I get a big hit against him.”
Rodney had gone through the bow-and-arrow routine after Calhoun flied out to the warning track in center field for the last out in the eighth. The 12-year veteran spent two seasons with the Angels, converting just 17 saves in 28 attempts from 2010-11. He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent and had career-best 48 saves in 2012.
“I did that for the fans, because when I came in, they booed me. It’s part of the game,” Rodney said after his third blown save in 30 chances this season. “I tried to get the save with five outs. They got me today, but tomorrow’s another day.”
Rodney loaded the bases twice with intentional walks to Howie Kendrick and Efren Navarro. The first resulted in a 5-2-3 double-play grounder by David Freese. The second set the stage for Green, who slapped a 1-2 pitch up the middle to score Josh Hamilton.
“It seems like all the pressure’s on him. He had to get me out. I don’t have to do more than put the ball in play,” Green said. “Rodney woke up our dugout. At the time, we were hitting well in the game, but we didn’t have that key hit. He did it at the wrong time with Trout, Pujols and Josh coming up. You don’t want to get those guys fired up.”
Green, a three-year veteran who has played third base and left field for the Angels, played his first game at shortstop after All-Star Erick Aybar was scratched for the second straight day with soreness in his groin. Green was 1 for 5 and handled all four defensive chances flawlessly.
Joe Thatcher (1-1) worked a scoreless inning for the Angels, who remained 1 1-2 games behind AL West-leading Oakland following their 13th victory in 14 games.
“It was awesome. Anytime we get a chance to put pressure like that against one of the game’s best closers, it’s definitely exciting,” Calhoun said.
Seattle starter Chris Young allowed three runs and 10 hits over six innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. The 6-foor-10 right-hander gave up back-to-back home runs by Calhoun and Trout in the third, tying the score at 3-all, and the Angels ended up winning their 10th straight home series.
Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings and struck out five.
Seattle scored two in the seventh on Mike Zunino’s RBI double and Endy Chavez’s run-scoring single against Skaggs.
Skaggs was behind 3-0 after just 22 pitches. He retired his first two batters before giving up five straight hits, including Kyle Seager’s 16th homer and RBI singles by Corey Hart and Dustin Ackley.
The Angels got one of the runs back in the bottom half on Hamilton’s two-out RBI double. They tied it in the second when Calhoun led off with a drive into the lower seats in the right field corner and Trout followed with his 23rd homer into the rock formation in left-center.
NOTES: Mariners 2B Robinson Cano, who began Sunday tied with Texas’ Adrian Beltre for first in the AL batting race at .335, sat out because of tightness and soreness in his hamstring. The five-time All-Star, who turns 32 in October, played all 28 innings the previous two nights. “He asked for a day off, so he’s off,” McClendon said. “It’s been a tough grind for him. He’s only had one day off in the first half, played in the All-Star Game, traveled. It just makes sense after 28 innings.”