Mariano Rivera pulled off one of his all-time escape acts tonight, loading the bases with none out in the 10th, then getting out of it to preserve the a 6-5 victory that allowed the Yankees to get out here having won two of three.
Afterward, the feat was met mostly with head shakes, except from the man himself.
"You just have to hold your composure and make your pitches," Rivera said. "Little help from the Lord and get it done.”
He said when he intentionally walked Miguel Montero to load the bases, he didn't think it was automatic he'd give up at least one.
"You try to get one at a time. you don’t try to get three outs in one pitch," Rivera said. "Get one out at a time and that’s what we did.”
Joe Girardi said he brought Rivera in with the score tied in the ninth with the intention of using him two innings because Rivera hadn't pitched since last Sunday and tomorrow is an off day. He said Game 7 of the 2001 World Series [the Diamondbacks announced earlier in the day Luis Gonzalez's number 20 would be retired] flashed in his head when Rivera found himself in trouble, but that wasn't the case with the closer.
“No, it’s 2010," Rivera said. "All I wanted to get was three outs. That definitely wasn’t a factor.”
His teammates were left in awe. Again.
"You’re thinking that they’re at least going to score one there," said Alex Rodriguez, whose sacrifice fly in the ninth off Aaron Heilman (some things never change) tied it at 5. "And then you hope that you’re able to score one in the top of the 11th. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think there’s a human on the planet that can get out of that jam like Mo."
Javier Vazquez had his worst start in about a month, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings.
"Only [he] can get out of that," Vazquez said. "We were talking about it – he’s like ice man out there, man, it really is unbelievable what he does.”
The last couple innings were far better than those preceding it as overall it was an ugly night at Chase Field. The teams combined to walk 18 batters, with the Diamondbacks walking 13 Yankees. It was at times a bumbling affair with both teams committing base-running blunders, including Mark Teixeira getting thrown out at third as Robinson Cano struck out -- a missed sign -- in the first inning, the same inning in which Nick Swisher was picked off.
"Oh, those were addressed," Girardi said, indicating the victory didn't completely obscure the fact the Yankees, who left 11 on base, played poorly.
“Obviously we’re not happy about the way we played today and we know we have to do a lot of things better," A-Rod said. "We’ll take the win, but we really don’t feel good about it.”
And with that, back at you Friday from Los Angeles for Game 1 of the Torre Bowl as it will be CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.68) taking on Vicente Padilla (1-1, 6.67), a particular favorite of Mark Teixeira's.