Rivera Picks Up Career Save #500

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera earned his 500th save, becoming the second reliever to reach the milestone, and the New York Yankees beat the punchless Mets 4-2 on Sunday night for a Subway Series sweep.

Chien-Ming Wang won for the first time in more than a year and Rivera got four outs, securing the Yankees' fifth consecutive victory -- all away from home.

In a fun twist on a night that belonged to him, Rivera even contributed offensively by drawing a bases-loaded walk from Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth for his first career RBI. It was the third regular-season plate appearance for the 39-year-old closer -- and second in five days.

Mark Teixeira hit a two-run double off Livan Hernandez (5-3) in a three-run first, when the Yankees had two of their four hits.

The injury-depleted Mets managed five, their best offensive output of the three-game series. The Yankees took five of six games from their crosstown rivals this season, handing the Mets their first sweep in 13 series at their new home, Citi Field.

Rivera entered with two on in the eighth and went to a full count on Omir Santos before throwing a called third strike. The right-hander pitched a one-hit ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances this season. He joined Milwaukee's Trevor Hoffman, who has 571 saves, as the only major leaguers with 500.

After the final out, Teixeira handed Rivera the game ball and the Yankees poured out of the dugout to hug him near first base. The Yankees (43-32) matched a season high at 11 games over .500.

Still struggling with his command, Wang (1-6) allowed four hits and three walks in a season-high 5 1-3 innings. He was pulled with a runner on second, but Phil Coke and Phil Hughes got the Yankees out of the sixth unscathed.

Hughes worked around a leadoff walk in a hitless seventh, and Brian Bruney started the eighth. He got two outs but walked two batters before manager Joe Girardi called on Rivera, whose first save came on May 17, 1996, against the California Angels. He got Garret Anderson to ground into a game-ending double play, closing out an 8-5 victory for Andy Pettitte and the Yankees.

Girardi and Derek Jeter each had two hits and an RBI in that game.

Following a season-ending foot injury last June, Wang has been unable to rediscover the form that made him a 19-game winner in 2006 and '07.

His previous win was June 15 last year in Houston, where he was injured while scoring on Jeter's single. The sinkerballer was 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA after three starts this season, then went on the disabled list for nearly a month with weakness in the adductor muscles in his hips.

After coming back, Wang made three relief appearances before returning to the rotation June 4 against Texas. His last three outings have shown gradual improvement.

The Mets cut it to 3-2 in the fourth. Prized prospect Fernando Martinez snapped an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI double and scored on Luis Castillo's two-out single.

It took three batters for the Yankees to grab the lead against Hernandez.

Back in the lineup after missing two games with flu symptoms, Jeter doubled off the left-field fence. Nick Swisher followed with a grounder to first and Daniel Murphy made a curious choice, trying to throw out Jeter at third. He beat the play, allowing Swisher to reach safely as well.

Teixeira sliced a two-run double into the left-field corner and later scored on Jorge Posada's sacrifice fly.


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