Mariano Rivera was just one of the question marks heading into the postseason after blowing two saves in his past five appearances and three in the month of September.
Manager Joe Girardi called on Rivera to preserve a 6-4 Yanks’ lead with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the eighth. The righthander started off shaky, throwing three straight balls to Denard Span, but eventually got the Twins centerfielder to ground out to end the threat.
Rivera would have retired the Twins in order in the ninth had it not been for a blown call by the umpires. Orlando Hudson grounded out, then Rivera knocked down a Joe Mauer-liner for the second out of the inning. The next batter, Delmon Young, hit a sinking liner to right field, but Greg Golson -- who was put in as a defensive replacement for Nick Swisher -- made a leaning catch.
The game should have ended there, but the umpires, all six of them, agreed Golson trapped the ball.
The blown call mattered little, since Rivera completed his four-out save by getting Jim Thome to pop-up to Alex Rodriguez to end the game.
During his pregame press conference, Girardi said there "may be" trepidation using Rivera for more than three outs. But, he added, some situations call for an extended outing. And tonight definitely was one of those moments.
Tonight also marked the Twins' 10th straight postseason loss to the Yankees.