I need to be careful when I boast. In yesterday´s open thread I pointed out Mariano Rivera´s incredible start to the season. In Tuesday night´s game the greatest reliever of all time allowed his first runs of the season, walked his first batter of the season and blew his first save of the season. We all know he´ll do these things every year. It´s just that there are moments when it genuinely seems as though Mo will go the entire year without giving up a run, or walking a batter.
A.J. Burnett was frustrating in this one, but kept the Yankees in the game. He allowed only three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work, but walked six on 105 pitches. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead that looked tenuous at best. David Robertson came on and did his Houdini routine to hold the lead. He struck out both batters he faced on eleven pitches, nine of them strikes.
Jose Bautista hit a homer off Burnett in the first inning, giving the Blue Jays a quick 1-0 lead, but the good guys struck back in the second. Jorge Posada singled in Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez scored on a Russell Martin ground out, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead thanks to something other than the home run. The Blue Jays tied it up in the third, however, on an Aaron Hill sacrifice.
It looked like the Yankees were going to pull away with this one in the sixth. Curtis Granderson got a single, and then Mark Teixeira put one in the people to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. When the Blue Jays loaded the bases but only scored one in the bottom of the inning thanks to Robertson´s heroics it seemed like Toronto was running out of chances. When Granderson added another run to the Yankee lead in the seventh victory seemed like a foregone conclusion.
After Robertson, the bullpen continued to do its job. Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano allowed only a single base runner between them in the seventh and eighth innings. Shockingly, Mariano let this one get away, in a two run inning that included a rare wild pitch. In total Rivera was tagged for four hits, one walk and two runs. Every so often during the season Rivera gets lit up in a big way. This just happened to be one of those nights. The Blue Jays walked off in the tenth when Edwin Encarnacion scored on a Travis Snider double.
As frustrating as it is to watch the Bombers lose a game that was in-hand, there isn´t much to complain about when Rivera blows a save. It will happen from time to time and it happens to other teams a lot more than it happens to the Yankees. Bartolo Colon makes his first start for the Bombers tomorrow as the Yankees look to square the two game set at one a piece.
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