The Pirates' valuable bench piece got the start in right field with Gregory Polanco still relegated to designated hitter duties because of leg fatigue. Rodriguez ended up being right in the middle of two rallies that put Seattle away in a confidence-building 8-1 win for Pittsburgh as he keeps proving to be more of a weapon than a reserve.
"It's just consistency," said Rodriguez, who tied his career-high with four RBIs in a 2-for-3 outing in which he also reached base two other times. "It's routine, pregame, BP, on deck. Consistency's always the biggest thing at the plate."
Rodriguez got on base in his first at-bat when he was hit by a pitch by Mariners starter Wade Miley in the second inning. Rodriguez ended up scoring when the next batter, Josh Harrison, doubled in two runs to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Starling Marte led off with a single. Rodriguez doubled him home and then scored three batters later on a Jordy Mercer single. The Pirates were up, 5-0.
And in the fifth inning, Rodriguez strode to the plate with the bases loaded and doubled again, this time driving in three more runs. He walked for good measure in the seventh before finally grounding out in the ninth.
Rodriguez has now reached base safely 11 times in his last 17 plate appearances. He's slashing .268/.352/.493 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 142 at-bats a year after putting up a .642 OPS with four homers and 17 RBIs in 224 at-bats for the entire season.
And Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Rodriguez gets playing time because of his glove, not his bat.
"He's as good a defender as I've come across, no matter where you put him," Hurdle said. "He's got a slow heartbeat. He makes it look like he's out playing in a picnic setting or something, a camp game or something.
"In right field, he just glides to balls. Second base, the lateral movement. First base, the way the feet and the hands work. He's a gifted defender and he's having one of his better offensive seasons so far this half."
And he's getting more chances to hit. That hasn't hurt, either.
"Getting more at-bats, that obviously helps a lot," Rodriguez said. "In years prior, I probably wouldn't have seen as many at-bats as I have at this point in the season."