Rivera Earns 500th Career Save as Yankees Sweep Mets


Jun 29, 2009

Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera
earned his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk and recorded the
final four outs for the 500th save of his distinguished career as the
Yankees held on to top the Mets 4-2
Sunday night at Citi Field in New York. The win completed the Yanks'
three-game weekend sweep of the Mets at their new ballpark in Queens.Rivera Earns 500th Career Save as Yankees Sweep Mets

The Yankees scored three first-inning runs and much maligned starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang earned his first win of the season. Mark Teixeira's double to left knocked in two runs and Teixeira later scored on a sac fly by Jorge Posada.

Wang, who was 0-6 entering Sunday's contest, pitched 5 1/3 innings
of four-hit ball, allowing the two Mets' runs in the fourth on a double
by Fernando Martinez and a single down the line by Luis Castillo.

But it was the Bronx Bombers' fireballing closer who was the star of
the game. Entering the game with two down in the eighth and the Bombers
up 3-2, he struck out Omir Santos to end a Mets mini-rally.

In the top of the ninth, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez intentionally walked Derek Jeter to load the bases for Rivera. So with the bases full, Rivera strode to the plate — wearing reserve infielder Cody Ransom's
batting helmet — for just his third career at-bat. He took a mighty
swing in fouling off a Rodriguez offering before walking on a
high-and-tight 3-2 pitch. The Yankees dugout erupted, partially in
jest, partially for the valuable insurance run.

When Rivera returned to the mound for the bottom of the frame, it
was business as usual. Rivera got Castillo to ground out to second,
struck out Jeremy Reed and — after a Daniel Murphy bloop single to left — retired Alex Cora
on another grounder to second. After Teixeira made the final putout at
first, he handed the game ball to Rivera who was mobbed by his Yankee

When ESPN's Joe Morgan asked Rivera after the game how he
felt he compared to the other top relief pitchers in Major League
history, Mo replied in typical businesslike fashion.

"When I go out there to the mound, I just want to do my job," he told Morgan. "I'll let other people talk about me."

So talk about him, we will.

In becoming just the second pitcher in history — after longtime Padre and current Brewer Trevor Hoffman — to reach the 500-save plateau, where does Rivera rank on the list of all-time great relievers?

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