Rodney ties franchise record with 45th save

Closer matches Sasaki's mark from 2001 with 16 games left in '14

Rodney ties franchise record with 45th save

SEATTLE -- The Fernando Rodney Experience is officially part of Mariners history.

Rodney picked up his Major League-leading 45th save of the season Friday night at Safeco Field in Seattle's 4-2 win over the Athletics. That tied him with former closer Kazuhiro Sasaki for the Mariners' single-season record, which Sasaki set in 2001 on a team that won 116 games.

Rodney tied Sasaki's feat Friday night in typical Rodney fashion, allowing the first two hitters of the ninth inning -- Brandon Moss and Sam Fuld -- to reach on sharply struck singles before getting Coco Crisp to pop out, then striking out Josh Reddick and Josh Donaldson to end the game.

Rodney, 37, has just three blown saves in 2014 despite regularly letting runners reach base -- he entered Friday with a 1.29 WHIP. Yet, somehow, the mercurial closer with the slanted cap and nonchalant delivery almost always finds a way to escape trouble.

"Believe and throw the stuff you have. That's what I do," said Rodney, who will have 16 games left this season to surpass the mark. "I throw my fastball. I know I got two guys on base and I'm not going to stop throwing."

Manager Lloyd McClendon couldn't care less how Rodney finishes games -- as long he gets results.

"I think it's a great accomplishment," McClendon said of Rodney tying Sasaki's record. "He's been phenomenal."

Rodney admitted he didn't realize he tied the club record for saves until someone told him after the game.

"I didn't know what the record was for the closer. I don't know. I try do what I can for my teammates and get better and get through every night," he said. "To tie the record or break it, I feel happy with that."

This is the second time Rodney has reached 45 saves in his 12-year big league career. He saved 48 games for the Rays in 2012, when he posted a 0.60 ERA. In 2014, his ERA is 2.49, which is on pace for the second-lowest mark of his career. The Mariners will take it.

"I'm not sure where we'd be without him," McClendon said. "He's been that good."

Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.