With his teammates standing in the dugout, and fans at Yankee Stadium standing and readying their cameras, Mariano Rivera fired a fastball past Minnesota’s Chris Parmelee to get the third out in the ninth inning and the save in New York’s 6-4 win on Monday.
It wasn’t just another save for the 41-year-old veteran. Rivera’s 602nd career save broke a tie with Trevor Hoffman, giving him the most saves in major league history.
The modest Rivera received hugs from teammates after the game.
“It’s a blessing,” Rivera said. “I never thought that I’d be doing this for so many years and be able to accomplish (this) record.”
Rivera stood on the mound and tipped his cap as fans applauded him.
Rivera also leads the majors with 42 career postseason saves. He has 43 saves this year with a 1.98 ERA. Rivera has matched his save total from 1997, and is 10 shy of his single-season high of 53 in 2004.
“We don’t get to the playoffs, we don’t win championships, we don’t do a lot of the things that we were able to do without this guy,” said Yankees longtime catcher, now designated hitter Jorge Posada, who won five World Series with Rivera.
Rivera has eight seasons of at least 40-plus saves. He is a 12-time All-Star and was the MVP of the 1999 World Series.
Wild-card race tightens up: The wild-card race in both leagues is tighter than it was a month ago. Boston went into Tuesday’s game with a two-game lead over Tampa Bay and a 4 1/2-game edge over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL. Atlanta led St. Louis by just 2 1/2 games and San Francisco by 3 1/2 in the NL.
The Red Sox and Braves have done just about everything possible to give away their wild-card leads. Boston went 17-12 in August, but 5-14 this month going into Tuesday’s game. Atlanta was 17-9 in August and 7-12 so far this month.
The remaining schedule appears to favor the Red Sox, who have the Orioles five times and the Yankees three in their last eight games. Tampa Bay had seven games left with the Yankees and three against Toronto. The Angels had three each left with the Blue Jays, Oakland and Texas.
If the Braves continue to slump, the Cardinals might have a shot, playing the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Houston three times each. Atlanta had two more games left against Florida, and three each with Washington and Philadelphia. The Giants had three games left each against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona and Colorado.
Sandberg wins again, in Triple-A: Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg took his Lehigh Valley IronPigs to the Governor’s Cup championship series in the International League, winning a first-round game before being eliminated last Friday by the Columbus Clippers.
Sandberg, who starred for the Chicago Cubs as a player, and managed in their farm system for four years, took over the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies after the Cubs chose Mike Quade as their manager in the offseason.
StatsWatch: Pitchers with the most saves in major league history —
- Mariano Rivera, 602
- Trevor Hoffman, 601
- Lee Smith, 478
- John Franco, 424
- Billy Wagner, 422
- Dennis Eckersley, 390
- Jeff Reardon, 367
- Troy Percival, 358
- Randy Myers, 347
- Rollie Fingers, 341
Diamond Notes: Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Monday to remove a bone spur and associated loose bodies. He should be able to begin a throwing program within six to eight weeks. Broxton pitched just 12 2/3 innings, with seven saves and a 5.68 ERA this season in the second year of an $11 million deal. He will be a free agent after the World Series…San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson is off the disabled list, which he had been on since Aug. 16 with a right elbow strain…Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood is out for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and will have arthroscopic surgery…Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was named the NL Player of the Week. Sandoval hit four home runs, drove in 10 runs, had 28 total bases and a slugging percentage of 1.120…The Oakland A’s are averaging 4.05 runs per game, the fourth-lowest in the AL…Carlos Santana has hit 26 homers for Cleveland this season, setting a team record for switch hitters.
Copyright © 2011 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.