McClendon shuffles 'pen in extra-inning loss

Mariners closer Smith comes on to induce DP in 8th, but Rodney blows save in 9th

McClendon shuffles 'pen in extra-inning loss

DENVER -- A rough season for Mariners reliever Fernando Rodney took another hit Wednesday as the former All-Star closer took his sixth blown save of the season by allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth in Seattle's 7-5, 11-inning loss to the Rockies at Coors Field.

Rookie Carson Smith has been handling the closing duties the past two months, but manager Lloyd McClendon brought him in for a critical situation in the eighth on Wednesday and he induced a double-play grounder from Nolan Arenado to preserve Taijuan Walker's 5-3 lead and leave the dangerous Carlos Gonzalez standing in the on-deck circle.

"I had a plan for Carson, and it was one hitter and that was it," McClendon said. "He really wasn't available today, but I figured if I could get one out from him in a big situation, we'd use him. And he got a big out for us."

McClendon had lefty specialist Joe Beimel waiting for Gonzalez -- who'd hit 12 homers since July 1, including a three-run shot off walker in the sixth -- and Beimel struck him out to start the ninth.

With Mark Lowe dealt to Toronto at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, McClendon isn't flush with late-inning right-handed options. He brought in Rodney to close things out, but instead the 38-year-old walked DJ LeMahieu, gave up a run-scoring double to Ben Paulsen and the game-tying RBI single to Kyle Parker. After getting eventual hero Michael McKenry to fly out, Rodney walked pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso before being replaced by Rob Rasmussen.

Rasmussen, one of the young lefties acquired from Toronto in the Lowe deal, got the final out in the ninth and wound up throwing 1 1/3 perfect innings for the second straight day. But the Rockies eventually won the game in the 11th on McKenry's two-run homer off Mayckol Guaipe, who had just been called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday.

"It's a shame, because I used a bullpen that was on fumes going into the off-day [Thursday] and they all came through," McClendon said. "Rodney walks a guy, a bloop here and it was just a tough ninth inning for us."

Rodney had pitched better of late -- 5 1/3 innings without a hit or run over his previous five outings -- but saw his ERA rise back to 5.56.

"Listen, this guy has been up four out of five days," McClendon said. "He has a right to get tired, too. I protect the young kids, but four of five days is tough. And this was a tough situation in a tough ballpark.

"The walks hurt him. In these type of ballparks, you walk guys or misplay a ball, they usually come back to haunt you."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.