Rivera Falters in Ninth and Yankees Fall Out of First

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Rivera Falters in Ninth and Yankees Fall Out of First

Post  net.com on Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:51 am

C. C. Sabathia and Mariano Rivera are the Yankees two best pitchers, and under normal circumstances when they are on the mound good things happen. But playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park hardly constitutes normal circumstances, and good things did not happen for Sabathia or Rivera this weekend.

Sabathia was rocked on Saturday and on Sunday Rivera, who has endured memorable indignities against this team, and especially in this ballpark, blew his fifth save opportunity and the 14th of his career against Boston, the most against any team.

The result was a crushing 3-2 loss in 10 innings to the Red Sox, who resumed their one-game lead in the American League East and extended their dominance over the Yankees by winning for the 10th time in 12 games this year.

“It’s a loss,” Rivera said, “and the only one to blame is myself.”

Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro, who tied a career high with four hits, ripped a double off the Green Monster to leadoff the bottom of the ninth, and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia.

“It’s a loss,” Rivera lamented, “and the only one to blame is myself.”

Not entirely. Third baseman Eduardo Nunez was out of position on a bad bunt by Jacoby Ellsbury that Rivera fielded and could have easily thrown out Scutaro at third base. But Nunez, who hit a home run off Josh Beckett in the fifth, had charged in so far he could not have gotten back in time to receive the throw. Scutaro was safe.

“It’s a difficult play,” Rivera said. “Even though I had enough time, it’s a hard play.”

After Rivera blew it in the ninth, Phil Hughes, making his first relief appearance of the season, gave up the winning run on a one-out single by Josh Reddick in the 10th inning that scored pinch-runner Darnell McDonald from second base. As Reddick danced away from his celebrating teammates, who had poured out of the dugout, the Yankees trudged off the field.

“Any time you see Mo in the game, it’s not good news,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “But every once in a while, you’ve got to make a chip. That was exciting.”

In the 10th David Ortiz hit a one-out ground rule double off Hughes and was replaced by McDonald. Hughes walked Carl Crawford intentionally, and then Reddick rammed a double into the left field corner.

It was not the first time Scutaro had contributed to a blown save against Rivera’s record. On April 15, 2007, he hit a game-winning three-run homer off Rivera to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory. It was the last game-ending home run Rivera had allowed.

“He’s one of the best, probably the best ever,” Scutaro said. “It’s luck, I guess.”

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia did not factor in the decision, but he had his best outing against the Red Sox this season. After going 0-2 with a 10.13 earned run average in three games, he allowed only one run on five hits over five innings Sunday.

The Yankees’ offense came from two unlikely sources of power, as Nunez, the ninth-place hitter, and the leadoff man Brett Gardner hit solo home runs.

Beckett held the Yankees to one run over six innings before Gardner shattered a 1-1 tie with a two-out homer off relief pitcher Matt Albers in the seventh inning. It was Gardner’s fifth home run of the year and first since June 19, a stretch of 153 at-bats.

The Yankees bullpen, consisting of Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson held the Red Sox scoreless for the next three innings, but once again Rivera was felled by the Sox in the ninth.

It was the Red Sox third walk-off win in their last five games. For the Yankees, it was another loss to the old rivals.

“I can’t blame nothing but myself,” Rivera said. “I didn’t get it done.”


The Yankees could call up catching prospect Jesus Montero from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this week, according to various reports, and Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees would not be reluctant to do so in the midst of a pennant race. “As far as us bringing young players up and being worried about how they contribute in this type of situation, we’ve done it before,” he said, adding, “It’s not something we’re afraid to do.” Girardi said he believed Montero had the ability to catch at the major league level, but indicated that he would more likely be a designated hitter. “Trying to learn a new staff in the middle of a season is not easy,” he said. “That’s more of a concern about bringing in a new catcher than if he’s ready to catch at this level.”

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