Rivera gets 600th save
SEATTLE -- In Anaheim on Sunday, after recording career save No. 599, Mariano Rivera called impending No. 600 "a great number."
And that was about it.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," he smiled.
His reaction was nonchalant and even-keeled.
And utterly predictable.
Much like how most games in which he appears will end.
It was Rivera's 41st save of the season and brought him within one of the all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, who has 601.
"It feels great, don't get me wrong, it's a great number," Rivera said afterward. "But I think the next ones are the biggest. I thank my wife, my kids, the whole organization, all those great fans out there -- the support they've given me and opportunity to do my job."
Rivera, who said his family would likely be joining him in Toronto, said he'll keep the game ball in a "special place." But he wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about the milestone as his teammates or manager.
"Maybe later on after I retire," Rivera said of reflecting on the achievement. "I'm not that type of guy. I'm a team player. I've told you guys many times and will continue to tell you the same thing because it doesn't depend on myself, it's my teammates who give me the opportunity to be able to pitch. Thank God that we won, that's the most important thing. We won."
The closer struck out pinch hitter Wily Mo Peña to start the inning before Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single to left. But Rivera struck out Kyle Seager on a 92-mph cutter and, with Dustin Ackley at the plate, Russell Martin, who said afterward he was unaware Rivera was on the cusp of 600, threw out Ichiro trying to steal second base to end it.
Instead of lining up as they usually would after a victory, players swarmed to Rivera on the mound, with longtime teammate Derek Jeter, who tagged out Ichiro, among the first there.
"He's doing things that no one's ever done," Jeter said. "Probably won't see it again . . . A lot of people have been spoiled. Yankee fans have been spoiled, baseball fans who have been watching him, us as teammates. We don't take him for granted but I think a lot of people may because he comes in, they assume it's over, and the only time you talk to him is when he doesn't come through. So we've all been spoiled."
Save No. 1 came May 17, 1996 against the Angels at the Stadium, an eight-pitch ninth that included one hit and one strikeout. Tuesday night's ninth required 15 pitches and included a hit and two strikeouts.
"It's an incredible accomplishment, I don't know if we'll ever see it again," said Joe Girardi, Rivera's catcher for that first save. "Simply remarkable."
The victory, in the least predictable part of the night, went to A.J. Burnett (10-11, 5.20), who suddenly righted himself after an erratic start. Burnett allowed two runs and four hits in six innings and struck out a season-high 11 in winning just his second game since June 29.
But the righthander also walked two, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches to give him a major-league single-season record of 25.
"It's special," Burnett said of Rivera's 600th save. "You're not going to see it again, I don't think."
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second when Robinson Cano led off by driving Charlie Furbush's 1-and-1 pitch to the left of the 385-foot sign in right-center for his 26th home run of the season. The shot gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead and gave Cano 110 RBIs, establishing a new career best. Cano had 109 last season.
The Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Nick Swisher doubled, went to third on Mark Teixeira's broken-bat single and came in on Cano's fielder's choice groundout.