For the big moments, the big stops and the person to go to when you need a save-you’ve got to go to ‘Mo’ –Mariano Rivera that is. As the future Hall of Fame pitcher now stands alone on Major League Baseball’s list of stoppers, by recording the 602nd save of his career at Yankees Stadium on Monday.
Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning, sitting down Chris Parmelee of the Twins on this patented cut fast ball to close the door on the Bombers (record) 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
The career of Mariano started in 1995, when the righty first broke in as a starter with the Yankees. That path wasn’t meant to be, as Rivera went only 3 1/3 innings and fell to the Angels by a final of 10-0. ‘Mo’ became a setup man, before taking on the mantle of ‘Closer’ in 1997.
In the following years, he has earned the reputation of being one of the top stoppers in MLB, leading the league in saves in 1999, 2001, and 2004. Entering into the game with ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica blasting on the public address system, ‘Mo’ has cut his own path into a spot into the Hall of Fame.
Curtis Granderson smacked his 41st homer of the season, along with the Bombers getting key hits from Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher-that eventually set up the save opportunity for Rivera.
Now Mo and the Yankees can concentrate on winning the American League East, as the Bombers now hold a 5 ½ lead game over the arch-rival Boston Red Sox-with 10 games left to play. New York will host the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game set starting on Tuesday.
Game One will feature rookie-sensation Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.81 ERA) taking on Wade Davis (10-9, 4.41 ERA). The Rays are starting to breathe down the necks of both the Bombers and the Sox, and these next few weeks are vital to all three teams’ playoffs hopes. First pitch for this crucial series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.