No Gonzo, No Problem: Mariano Rivera and the Yankees Avoid Near-2001 Meltdown

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No Gonzo, No Problem: Mariano Rivera and the Yankees Avoid Near-2001 Meltdown
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was definitely not the most well-played game ever, but it was an instant classic for the 2010 seasonat least for the Yankees, anyway.

The Bombers went into the ninth inning trailing 5-4. Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher both walked to lead off the inning against Aaron Heilman. Mark Teixeira’s ground ball moved them to second and third, and A-Rod hit a sacrifice fly to score Jeter.

Mariano Rivera had a one-two-three bottom of the ninth and they headed to the 10th tied 5-5

Leading off the bottom of the 10th, Curtis Granderson smacked a home run to deep right field to give the Yankees a one-run lead. Jeter would later ground into a double play and Rivera grounded out in his third career at-bat to end the inning, garnering much applause from the Yankee dugout.

Mo pitched the bottom of the 10th inning, making this his first two-inning appearance of the year. But it would not be an easy inning, to say the least.

Leading off, Stephen Drew dunked in a bloop hit, reminiscent of Luis Gonzalez’s walk-off hit off Mo ending the 2001 World Series. Justin Upton doubled to deep left and Drew was held at third. Miguel Montero was then intentionally walked to load the bases with no one out.

The D-backs sure could have used Gonzo in that 10th inning, because the next three batters posed little threat to Mo. Chris Young fouled out to Franciso Cervelli, Adam LaRoche popped out to A-Rod, and Mark Reynolds struck out swinging to end the game. 

Mo looked as cool as a cucumber as he pitched to those final three batters, just as if there were no one on base. Clearly, Rivera had no mental damage left from that 2001 heart-breaker.

The Yankees are now 9-3 against the D-backs and have never lost a series to them since 2001.

Next up for the Yanks is a visit to an old friend and old enemy, Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez, out in L.A. The series gets started on Friday night after an off-day on Thursday for the Bombers.

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