Move over, Trevor Hoffman. There's a co-leader for all-time saves.
Mariano Rivera has now tied Hoffman with 601 career saves. While the save statistic isn't necessarily indicative of a fantastic pitcher, Rivera's consistency and dominating numbers over the course of his entire career have given him a Hall of Fame resume and been enough for everyone to recognize him as the greatest closer to ever play baseball.
Alex Rodriguez made his return to the lineup this afternoon and his presence was felt immediately. A three-run homer to left in the top of the sixth inning narrowed Toronto's lead to 6-5 and fueled the win.
Bartolo Colon didn't have his best stuff today. He ran into a tremendous amount of trouble in the bottom of the second inning, tossing 30 pitches and allowing two singles, two doubles, a walk and a sacrifice fly that added up to four earned runs. He would surrender a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth to bring his final line to four innings, seven hits, one walk, six runs, and three strikeouts.
New York's offense and bullpen were a saving grace today for Colon. Robinson Cano's sacrifice fly in the fourth put the Yankees on the board and cut the deficit to 4-1. In the sixth, Mark Teixeira's RBI single and Rodriguez's three-run homer left the Yankees trailing by one run. And just as he's done all season, Curtis Granderson blasted his 40th homer to dead centerfield, a two-run bomb, to put the Yankees up for good.
As I alluded to, the bullpen deserves recognition and credit. Scott Proctor, Aaron Laffey, Hector Noesi, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera combined for five innings of shutout, hitless relief with six strikeouts. The mostly solid bullpen will be a huge factor come playoff time.
The Yankees improved to 91-59 and reduced their magic numbers for clinching the playoffs and winning the American League East to five and nine, respectively.
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