When Rivera made his first appearance of the year Tuesday night, the Yankees achieved a unique distinction -- 16 consecutive seasons in which a particular trio of teammates played together. No other team in major league baseball, the NFL, NBA or NHL has done that.
But the plays that gave New York the tiebreaking run in its 6-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night involved two newcomers to their teams.
"That's what we anticipated him to do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Johnson, known for his keen batting eye.
The Red Sox certainly didn't expect Scutaro to throw away a routine ground ball. After all, they signed him as part of their emphasis on run prevention.
"I just made a bad throw. That's it. I don't really have an excuse," said Scutaro, who spent the last two seasons with Toronto. "It's always hard when you make an error that cost you the game."
Boston had a chance to keep the game tied, but Hideki Okajima fell behind 3-0 on Johnson, who split last season between Washington and Florida, then walked him on a 3-1 count.
Johnson has four walks in 10 plate appearances in the three-game series, which ends Wednesday night.
"I was just trying to keep it as simple as possible," he said. "Against a lefty, you've got to stay in there."
Robinson Cano hit his first homer of the season in the ninth, then Rivera allowed a one-out double to Scutaro in the bottom half before retiring the next two batters. That gave Rivera 527 saves, most in AL history. And it broke a tie with Milwaukee's Jim Gantner, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount, who played 15 seasons together from 1978-92.
But the performance of New York's other relievers was satisfying to Girardi after his bullpen gave up four runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 9-7 loss to Boston on Sunday night. In the eighth, with a runner at second and one out, Joba Chamberlain struck out the next two batters.
That came after
"We take pride in the fact that we can go out and get outs," Chamberlain said. "We didn't do our job the other day."
Okajima (1-1) failed to do his on Tuesday night. Posada opened the eighth with a ground-rule double. Then Nick Swisher worked Okajima for 11 pitches before grounding out.
"He fought hard. I tried to fight back," Okajima said through a translator, "but with him fighting, it affected me."
Posada stayed at second when Brett Gardner singled to short left field with one out. Curtis Granderson flied out. Then Jeter hit the ball to Scutaro. The throw bounced in front of first baseman Kevin Youkilis and ticked off his glove.
Jeter had made a throwing error in the sixth, but Boston didn't score.
Scutaro wasn't as lucky. He said he didn't get a good grip on the ball, and knew as soon as he made the throw that it was a bad one.
Boston manager Terry Francona thought Scutaro rushed it.
"I think when he saw where Jeter was then he hurried and just kind of short-armed it a little bit," Francona said.
For Burnett, it was more trouble at Fenway Park, where he went 0-2 with an 8.85 ERA in four starts last year. The first time he pitched there in 2009, he allowed eight runs in five innings in Boston's 16-11 win.
Lester pitched Boston's second game for the third consecutive year and struggled each time. He lost 5-1 to Oakland in 2008 in Tokyo and 7-2 to Tampa Bay last season. He gave up a combined nine runs in nine innings.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Youkilis. Victor Martinez gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead in the third with his first homer of the year, a two-run shot after Jacoby Ellsbury's double.
Then the Yankees jumped ahead 4-3 in the fifth after loading the bases with no outs when Granderson and Jeter singled and Johnson was hit by a pitch. The runs scored when Teixeira grounded into a forceout at second, Alex Rodriguez doubled and Cano hit a sacrifice fly.
- Righty batter Marcus Thames started in left field for New York for lefty Gardner because left-hander Lester started. Gardner pinch hit for Thames in the sixth when right-hander Manny Delcarmen replaced Lester.
- Red Sox No. 5 starter Clay Buchholz plans to throw a simulated game Wednesday. With two days off in the first five of the season, Boston won't use him until Sunday in Kansas City.
- The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., who got the first gold medal for the United States at the Vancouver Olympics by winning the women's moguls. During the opening ceremonies, she wore an Ellsbury T-shirt under her Olympic uniform. Ellsbury caught her pitch Tuesday.