Some of those invisible arrows that Seattle Mariners closer Fernando Rodney likes to shoot came back around and pierced him in the rear end Sunday afternoon.
Rodney did his famous archery pantomime in the eighth inning after coming on for a save with five outs to go against the Los Angeles Angels. But he couldn't hold the lead in the bottom of the ninth after Mike Trout and Albert Pujols started a game-ending comeback.
The kicker: Trout and Pujols shot invisible arrows back at Rodney. All he could do was take it. The lesson: Never shoot your arrows before it's time.
Rodney was nursing a one-run lead in the ninth, but he walked Trout to lead off. Pujols followed with an RBI double to tie the score. Not usually one for flashy celebrations, Pujols and Trout traded arrows with Rodney caught in the middle on the mound. Mimicry is the harshest form of flattery.
''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.''
With Rodney pitching like an invisible wounded deer, the Angels loaded the bases for Grant Green, who finished him off with a game-ending single and a 6-5 Los Angeles victory. Let the arrows fly!
Rodney, named to the American League's All-Star roster earlier this month, had blown his third save in 30 opportunities. Green said later that Rodney's act "woke up our dugout" and was a mistake that got the wrong guys fired up.
Rodney, whose turn as closer for the Angels in 2010-2011 wasn't a success — a fact that fans remembered — tried to defend himself from shooting his arrows "too" early.
''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 had been performing his celebration more often than normal of late. Usually reserved for the final out of a victory, Rodney's "gotcha" archery pantomime had been seen during the All-Star game during the player introductions and after his appearance in the eighth inning of the American League victory. Like a Bart Simpson catch phrase from the 1990s that tended to get overdone, all Rodney thought he was doing was preserving his personal brand. But sometimes overdoing it is still overdoing it.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun tried to put it all into perspective.
''Rodney's one of the game's best, and that's a known fact,'' 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.''
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