SEATTLE (WFAN/AP) — Trevor Hoffman stands alone atop the all-time saves list for one more day.
Unheralded Luis Rodriguez put Mariano Rivera’s pursuit of the record on hold. And he kept the Yankees from expanding their lead on Boston in the AL East.
Rodriguez led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a solo homer off New York reliever Cory Wade, and the Mariners delayed Rivera’s chase for the saves record with a 2-1 win over the Yankees on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez, who doubled in his previous two at-bats, golfed a 2-1 pitch from Wade (5-1) into the right field seats and sent the Yankees off to Toronto looking to get Rivera career save No. 601 on Friday night against the Blue Jays.
New York also missed on a chance to gain another game on the slumping Red Sox after Boston lost at home to Toronto 5-4. The Yankees lead in the AL East remained at four games.
“We lost a lot of one-run games on this trip and that’s the hard part,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We lot three games by one run each. But our club has been pretty good to win two out of three. You’ve got to keep doing that.”
Much of the night was spent waiting to see if Rivera would get his shot at tying Hoffman’s major league record, a night after becoming just the second pitcher in baseball history to reach 600 saves. And the Yankees bullpen did their part, going 3 1-3 scoreless inning and avoiding trouble on multiple occasions waiting for New York’s offense to score a run and give Rivera the opportunity to pitch for 601.
It never came. Wade left a change up over the plate and Rodriguez made him pay.
“It’s rough. Everybody has gone out and contributed and did what they needed to do and it came down to me and I made a mistake and it got hit out of the ball park,” Wade said. “He did just what he’s supposed to do with that pitch.”
The Yankees only offense came from Nick Swisher’s 23rd homer in the top of the seventh inning that ended a strong start from Seattle’s Jason Vargas.
The Yankees had other moments taken away by the Mariners defense. Ichiro Suzuki robbed Curtis Granderson of extra bases with a leaping catch on the warning track in the top of the ninth. Michael Saunders robbed Mark Teixeira of at least a double and possible a homer with his leaping catch just in front of the wall in deep right-center field to end the 11th.
And rookie Trayvon Robinson made a difficult catch on a tough liner to judge off Brett Gardner’s bat to end the 12th. Robinson’s catch helped make a winner out of Seattle reliever Steve Delabar (1-0), who was a substitute teacher earlier during the baseball season before being signed by the Mariners. It was his first major league victory.
But the biggest defensive play came early when Seattle’s Mike Carp was the beginning of a relay to throw out Andruw Jones at the plate trying to score on Eduardo Nunez’s double in the third inning.
“It looked like (Granderson) had a game-winner and it looked like (Teixeira) had one,” Girardi said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
While the Yankees missed out on the sweep, they did get an impressive showing from Nova, who was equal to Vargas. Nova threw 7 1-3 innings and gave up just five hits. Seattle’s only run off Nova came in the fourth when Carp scored after Nova saw a 1-2 pitch to Miguel Olivo slip and sailed behind Olivo’s head. Russell Martin did his best, but the pitch glanced off Martin’s glove and bounced far enough away from the plate to let Carp score.
“It was a curve ball that fell out of my hand a little bit,” Nova said. “It’s going to happen sometimes.”
Derek Jeter’s two-out, two-strike single in the sixth inning snapped a streak of 10 straight Yankees set down and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. It also gave him 150 hits for the season, his 16th straight season with at least 150 hits. It’s tied Jeter with Pete Rose for the second longest streak in baseball history with 150 hits. Hank Aaron holds the mark with 17 consecutive seasons of 150 hits.
NOTES: Seattle 1B Justin Smoak left the game in the fourth inning with a mild right groin strain. He was replaced by Kennedy. … The Yankees decided not to have 3B Alex Rodriguez participate in batting practice on Wednesday, but the plan remains to have Rodriguez back in the lineup on Friday night in Toronto, Girardi said. … Seattle SS Brendan Ryan missed Wednesday’s game with a sore upper back that forced him to leave Tuesday’s game early. … … Both New York and Seattle have off days on Thursday. The Yankees open a three-game series in Toronto on Friday, while Seattle hosts Texas. … LHP CC Sabathia will start the series opener in Toronto.
Will Mariano break the record in Toronto or at Yankee Stadium? Make your prediction in the comments below…
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