ANAHEIM, Calif. – Maybe shooting an imaginary arrow at the Angels dugout when you have just a one-run lead and still have to face Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the bottom of the ninth inning isn’t the best idea.
The Mariners found out why in a painful 6-5 walkoff loss on Sunday at Angels Stadium.
Up 5-4, Mariners closer Fernando Rodney was called on for a five-out save to secure the win and a series win for Seattle. He failed do so while putting put himself in the middle of a firestorm thanks to an imaginary arrow.
After getting the final two outs of the eighth inning and stranding a runner on first base, Rodney broke out his traditional ninth-inning celebration of pulling out an imaginary arrow out of a quiver and firing it. But instead of in the air, this one was at the Angels dugout.
Why would he do such a thing? Did he think it was the ninth inning?
“I did it for the fans,” he said. “When I came out, they booed me. I did that for them. It’s part of the game.”
Regardless of intent or aim, the premature celebration didn’t go unnoticed by the Angels.
In the ninth inning when Rodney walked Trout and Pujols doubled to right field to score him from first base, the ensuing celebration was obvious and predictable. Pujols pulled his own imaginary arrow and fired it at the celebrating Angels dugout and Trout grabbed his own arrow and fired one back at Rodney.
“It was spur of the moment,” Trout said. “It’s baseball. We’re having fun.”
Rodney said he didn’t see Pujols and Trout’s mimicry.
“They did?” he said. “They got emotional, maybe. They beat me. That’s all right.”
Pujols had been waiting a long time to mimic Rodney. “I’ve known him for 15 years,” Pujols said. “I told him I would do that to him one day.”
Of course, the array of arrows didn’t actually decide the win. It looked like Rodney might somehow escape any more oncoming make-believe projectiles when he got David Freese to ground into a 6-2-3 double play with the bases loaded. The Mariners intentionally loaded the bases with two outs, but Grant Green singled up the middle to score the winning run.
Mariner Kyle Seager blasted his 16th homer of the season, a solo shot to right in the first inning.