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New York at Seattle

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N.Y. Yankees (90-57) «020001000390
Seattle (61-87)011000000260

Rivera earns 600th save, moves within one of record

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

SEATTLE -- The celebration was pure Mariano Rivera.

No big screams or wild gestures. Certainly no spectacle, even if Rivera is widely regarded as the best ever at what he does.

Career Saves
PlayerTotal
1. Trevor Hoffman601
2. Mariano Rivera-y600
3. Lee Smith478
4. John Franco424
5. Billy Wagner422
6. Dennis Eckersley390
7. Jeff Reardon367
8. Troy Percival358
9. Randy Myers347
10. Rollie Fingers341

Just warm hugs and appreciative handshakes from Yankees teammates. And even that might have been more than what Rivera wanted following the 600th save of his remarkable career.

"Maybe later on after I retire, but right now I'm not focused on that. I'm not that type of guy. I'm a team player," Rivera said. "I tell you guys many times and I'll continue to tell you, it doesn't depend on myself. It depends on my teammates giving me the opportunity to be able to pitch."

Rivera moved within one save of Trevor Hoffman's major-league record by closing out New York's 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

In a season in which teammate Derek Jeter already reached one of baseball's grandest milestones with his 3,000th hit, Rivera also has added to his Yankees legacy. Next up is No. 601, which could come Wednesday night in the series finale at Seattle.

But even Rivera acknowledged the big one will be No. 602, when he passes Hoffman to become the most prolific closer in major-league history. That leaves little time to savor No. 600, or 601. The quick turnaround is just part of the job.

Rivera entered with a one-run lead in the ninth inning and allowed only a one-out single to Ichiro Suzuki. He was retired when catcher Russell Martin caught Suzuki trying to steal second for the final out.

Jeter put the tag on Suzuki and smiled as he brought the souvenir ball to Rivera. One by one, New York players lined up for the muted, respectful celebration.

More on Yankees at Mariners
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Danny Knobler Danny Knobler
It's a typically drama-free save for an atypical milestone for the great Mariano Rivera. Read>>
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"We've been close for a long time and I know how important it is for him to come in and do his job," Jeter said. "He takes a lot of pride in it. He's a prideful guy."

But just think, Rivera has racked up all those saves -- plus 42 more in the postseason -- primarily on the strength of one dominant pitch: a sizzling cut fastball. And he has done it in pressure-packed situations with the Yankees always in contention. Indeed, he has been the back-end backbone of this team for 15 years.

"Just to think, about every game Mariano has ever pitched has been a meaningful game," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "Every one of those saves meant something."

That biting cutter was there again on Tuesday night as Rivera notched his 41st save of the season in his 46th opportunity.

It was the 1,037th appearance of his career, but it almost didn't happen. Setup man David Robertson labored through the eighth as Rivera started stretching out, giving up a leadoff single to Dustin Ackley and walking Justin Smoak with one out. Robertson got Miguel Olivo swinging at a 3-2 pitch while the runners advanced. Robertson then fell behind Adam Kennedy 2-0 and issued an intentional walk to load the bases.

Trayvon Robinson came on to pinch-hit for Casper Wells, who had struck out three times already, but couldn't do any better, striking out on a fastball and leaving the bases loaded.

Rivera then took off his jacket and started throwing moments later. He didn't have much time to get ready while New York went down quickly in the top of the ninth, but jogged in with most of the Yankees fans in attendance standing and many snapping pictures.

Nearly the entire Yankees dugout stood on the top-step railing.

Pinch-hitter Wily Mo Pena was gone on a foul-tip strike three into Martin's glove. Suzuki then served a soft single into left field, but Rivera struck out rookie Kyle Seager.

He didn't even need to finish pitching to Ackley as Suzuki was thrown out by Martin trying to steal. Rivera savored the chance to share the moment with Jeter and another longtime teammate, Jorge Posada.

"They are family away from your family. It was great seeing them all come to the mound," Rivera said. "Again, I've been blessed to have a great bunch of guys who have supported me and given me all the opportunities."

Robinson Cano provided the Yankees offense with a home run and two RBI, while A.J. Burnett (10-11) won for the first time since Aug. 15 thanks to a season-high 11 strikeouts. New York stayed four games in front of second-place Boston in the AL East after the Red Sox thumped Toronto 18-6.

Rivera missed out on a save chance in the series opener when the Yankees battered nemesis Felix Hernandez in a 9-3 victory. But the New York offense was kept in check Tuesday night by Charlie Furbush (3-9), who allowed only three runs and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.

Nick Swisher's leadoff double in the sixth eventually led to Cano's fielder's choice that scored Swisher with the go-ahead run. Rafael Soriano and Robertson worked the seventh and eighth innings to set the stage for Rivera.

And perhaps to Rivera's liking, he wasn't the one recording the final out. It was Martin coming through with a perfect throw to get Suzuki.

"I don't know if we'll ever see it again. That's how much of an accomplishment this is that he and Trevor Hoffman have done. Simply remarkable," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "This is a guy who I believe is the best closer that's ever been in the game and I've had the fortune of catching him, coaching him and managing him and it's a treat."

Notes

  • Burnett's two wild pitches gave him 25 for the season. That's the most for any pitcher since San Diego's Matt Clement had 23 in 2000.
  • Seattle SS Brendan Ryan left the game before the start of the sixth with a sore back and was replaced by Luis Rodriguez.
  • Girardi said the team expects Rodriguez to be ready to play on Friday when the Yankees open a three-game series in Toronto.
  • Yankees RHP Ivan Nova starts in the series finale on Wednesday, looking to start a new streak. His eight-start winning streak was snapped with a no-decision last Thursday in Baltimore.
  • LHP Jason Vargas will make his 30th start of the season on Wednesday for Seattle. He is 2-7 with a 6.56 ERA over his past 11 starts.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mariano Rivera reaches an epic milestone and is just two saves away from becoming MLB's new all-time saves leader. (AP)
Mariano Rivera reaches an epic milestone and is just two saves away from becoming MLB's new all-time saves leader. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Burnett
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 2
K 11
Seattle

M. Olivo
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Derek Jeter, SS4010010 .296
Nick Swisher, RF4110001 .261
    Greg Golson, RF0000000 .500
Mark Teixeira, 1B4010020 .248
Robinson Cano, 2B4122000 .305
Jesus Montero, DH4120002 .333
Andruw Jones, LF2010000 .243
   a- Curtis Granderson, PH-CF1010000 .268
Russell Martin, C3000024 .238
Eduardo Nunez, 3B3000011 .254
Brett Gardner, CF-LF3000021 .262
Totals3239208  
a-singled for A. Jones in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nick Swisher (25, Furbush), Jesus Montero (1, Furbush), Andruw Jones (7, Furbush)
HR - Robinson Cano (26, Furbush)
RBI - Robinson Cano 2 (111)
Team LOB - 2
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
A.J. Burnett (W,10-11) 64222110 5.20
Rafael Soriano (H,21) 1000010 4.18
David Robertson (H,33) 1100230 1.17
Mariano Rivera (S,41) 1100020 2.05
IBB - Kennedy by David Robertson
HBP - Seager (by A.J. Burnett), Smoak (by A.J. Burnett)
WP - A.J. Burnett 2 (25)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 103-63, Rafael Soriano 10-8, David Robertson 30-15, Mariano Rivera 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 6-1, Rafael Soriano 2-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 26, Rafael Soriano 3, David Robertson 6, Mariano Rivera 3
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ichiro Suzuki, RF5010021 .274
Kyle Seager, 3B4110021 .264
Dustin Ackley, 2B3010111 .291
Mike Carp, LF-1B4010011 .275
Justin Smoak, 1B1000212 .230
    Michael Saunders, PR-CF0000000 .158
Miguel Olivo, C3111010 .227
Adam Kennedy, DH3000134 .229
Casper Wells, CF3000032 .235
   a- Trayvon Robinson, PH-LF1000013 .237
Brendan Ryan, SS2011010 .246
    Luis Rodriguez, SS1000000 .176
   b- Wily Mo Pena, PH1000010 .216
Totals31262417  
a-struck out for Wells in the 8th
b-struck out for Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kyle Seager (9, Burnett), Miguel Olivo (16, Burnett)
SF - Miguel Olivo (7)
RBI - Miguel Olivo (60), Brendan Ryan (39)
2-OUT RBI - Brendan Ryan (8)
SB - Dustin Ackley (5, 3rd base off Robertson/Martin), Michael Saunders (5, 2nd base off Robertson/Martin)
CS - Ichiro Suzuki (7, 2nd base by M. Rivera/Martin)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Casper Wells 1
DP - Furbush-Ryan-Smoak, Wells-Ackley-Smoak, Ackley-Rodriguez-Smoak, Rodriguez-Ackley-Carp
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Charlie Furbush (L,3-9) 5.1733061 4.86
Shawn Kelley 1.2100000 0.00
Tom Wilhelmsen 1000010 3.71
Brandon League 1100010 2.77
WP - Charlie Furbush (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Furbush 89-53, Shawn Kelley 11-7, Tom Wilhelmsen 11-6, Brandon League 8-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Furbush 4-5, Shawn Kelley 2-1, Tom Wilhelmsen 2-0, Brandon League 1-0
Batters Faced - Charlie Furbush 22, Shawn Kelley 4, Tom Wilhelmsen 3, Brandon League 3
Game Information
Attendance - 18306
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Mark Carlson