K-Rod passes Percival for 9th on saves list
Brewers closer credits former Angels teammate for mentorship
PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Rodriguez used to set up former Angels closer Troy Percival, but on Monday night -- or early Tuesday morning -- Rodriguez surpassed him.
Shortly after Rodriguez's Brewers and the Pirates sat around through an hour and 45 minute-rain delay, Rodriguez wasted no time retiring Pittsburgh to secure a 2-0 win at PNC Park and move into sole possession of ninth place on Major League Baseball's all-time saves list.
The 33-year-old right-hander, now with 359 saves, said he feels honored to have passed the player who taught him how to close a game.
"This is the guy who took all the time in the world to make sure I was ready to take over as a closer," Rodriguez said. "To me, it means a lot. Hopefully wherever he is, he'll feel proud of me and know that he didn't waste his time with me."
Percival was the longtime closer for the Angels from 1996 to 2004. From 2002 until Rodriguez took over the role in '05, Percival showed the up-and-coming reliever the ropes.
In his first season as closer, Rodriguez tallied 45 saves and secured most of them by working quickly. His appearance in the series opener against Pittsburgh was no different.
Rodriguez went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, baffling a few in the process -- including Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
"We can't guess with him because you just don't know what's coming," Counsell said. "He always seems to be one step ahead of the hitter."
Rodriguez has shown a penchant for that over his 14-year career, and that remained the same as he moved by Percival.