TORONTO -- Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has tied the all-time record with his 601st career save today, pitching a perfect ninth inning to wrap up a 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Rogers Centre.
Rivera got Colby Rasmus to take a called third strike and got Brett Lawrie on a broken-bat grounder to first. With the Yankees fans in the crowd of 39,288 urging him on, Rivera got Eric Thames on a lazy fly ball for his 42nd save of the season and 13th in a row.
The Yankees trailed through five innings, 6-1, and were largely a trainwreck in the first half of the game. Bartolo Colon had very little in his four innings and light-hitting Toronto leadoff man Mike McCoy had three RBIs.
The New York offense failed to get a man in from third base five times -- five times! -- and Robinson Cano ran into a double play to end the fourth when he passed Mark Teixeira at third base. Cano, running head down from second, either thought Nick Swisher's liner to Corey Rasmus in center was either the third out or was dropping in. When Rasmus made the backhand catch, Teixeira retreated to third to tag up but Cano blew right by him.
The Yankees finally got it together in the sixth with four runs -- three on a first-pitch laser over the left-field wall by Alex Rodriguez, his first home run since Sept. 4.
They took the lead in the seventh on Curtis Granderson's 40th homer of the season, a two-run shot to dead-center off Carlos Villanueva. That was the at-bat of the game, as Granderson fouled off seven straight 2-2 pitches before finally connecting.
The New York bullpen set a remarkable red carpet for Rivera. Scott Proctor, Aaron Laffey, Hector Noesi and Rafael Soriano threw four hitless innings. In fact, they retired the final 11 in that stretch. Proctor gave up a leadoff walk to Jose Bautista in the fifth, but he was quickly erased on Adam Lind's double-play grounder and the Blue Jays never had another baserunner.
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