Despite loss, Yankees ride an emotional high
APNEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera said goodbye to Yankee Stadium with hugs, tears and cheers.
September 28, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Baseball's most acclaimed relief pitcher made an emotional exit in his final appearance in the Yankees' home pinstripes, when captain Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came to the mound to remove him with two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
“It's time to go,” Jeter appeared to tell Rivera.
Tampa Bay won its seventh straight and leads the AL wild-card race.
During four minutes of thunderous chanting from the sellout crowd 48,675, an overcome Rivera sobbed as he buried his head on the shoulder of Pettitte and then hugged Jeter.
It was an extraordinary sight in a sport where a manager almost always goes to the mound to make a pitching change. Yankees manager Joe Girardi checked with the umpires to make certain Jeter, who is on the disabled list, could take part.
“I was so thankful they came out,” Rivera said after the game.
Rivera, who retired four straight batters, wiped his eyes with both arms as he walked off and blew a kiss to the first row behind the Yankees dugout. He hugged a tearful Girardi in the dugout, grabbed a towel to dab the tears, and came out again and doffed his cap to the crowd. All the while, the Rays remained in their dugout applauding.
Indians 6, Twins 5 Reliever Joe Smith struck out pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia to end a ninth-inning rally and Cleveland won its seventh straight game, holding off Minnesota to keep pace in the AL wild-card race.
The Twins scored four runs in the ninth and had runners on first and second before Smith got the final out.
Cleveland leads Texas by one game for the second wild-card spot. Each team has three games left in the regular season. Tampa Bay is on top in the chase, one game ahead of the Indians.
Yan Gomes hit a towering two-run homer and Michael Brantley added three hits and two RBIs from the leadoff spot.
Bryan Shaw (7-3) picked up the victory in relief of Zach McAllister by getting five key outs over the fifth and sixth innings.