Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

Rivera earns 300th career save

Yankees’ closer becomes 18th player to reach milestone

May 29, 2004

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— Mariano Rivera is too busy doing his job to think about where he ranks among baseball's all-time relievers.

The New York Yankees' closer became the 18th player to earn 300 saves in a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night, then shrugged off the accomplishment by saying he's prouder of what he's done in the postseason.

"I don't think it compares," said Rivera, who has 30 postseason saves, including nine in the World Series. "Don't get me wrong. It's something I appreciate, but it doesn't compare to those."

Javier Vazquez (5-4) pitched six-plus innings for the victory, and Rivera worked a scoreless ninth for his AL-leading 17th save. He became the first Yankee to record 300 in his career, and is the fourth pitcher to get 300 with one team, joining Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley and Jeff Montgomery.

"He's the best," said a surging Derek Jeter, who hit one of New York's four home runs.

"I don't care how many saves other people have," he said. "The way he's gotten them -- not in the regular season, but more importantly in the postseason -- I think you have to put him at the top of the list."

Manager Joe Torre agreed.

"He's very special. He loves the competition. He's always responded real well in big games," Torre said. "I think when you talk about his career, the reason he'll go to the Hall of Fame is all about the postseason. He's been second to none."

Jeter continued his climb out of a season-long slump with three hits for the third straight game and helped the Yankees extend their longest road winning streak of the season to five games.

The win put the Yankees a season-best 11 games over .500 at 29-18.

Coming off a sweep of Baltimore in which they scored 41 runs in a three-game series for just the fourth time in franchise history, the Yankees put on another impressive offensive performance with all of their runs coming on homers.

Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui and Ruben Sierra all connected off Doug Waechter (2-5), helping the defending AL champions improve to 7-3 on a 12-game trip that's the club's longest in nearly two years.

Jeter went 3-for-5, including a solo homer off Lance Carter in the ninth. He has raised his batting average to .221.

The Devil Rays called up 1B/DH Fred McGriff from Triple-A Durham to give him an opportunity to reach 500 home runs. He has 491. He pinch hit against RHP Tom Gordon in the eighth and popped to third. He'll be in the lineup as the DH tonight.

White Sox 4, Angels 3

Chicago -- Paul Konerko hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth, giving Chicago a victory over Anaheim for its eighth win in 10 games.

Juan Uribe tripled off the center-field wall against Ramon Ortiz (1-4) to start the ninth. After Frank Thomas was intentionally walked, Carlos Lee fouled out before Jose Valentin was also intentionally walked to load the bases. Konerko, whose two-run homer in the sixth tied the game at 2, hit a 2-2 pitch to the warning track in right-center to score Uribe.

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 4

Toronto -- Carlos Delgado hit a two-run homer in a four-run first, and Ted Lilly worked six innings for just the second time this season to lead Toronto to its fourth straight victory. Rod Barajas homered and tied a career high with four RBIs for the Rangers, who were shut out by the Chicago White Sox in their previous two games.

Orioles 7, Tigers 5

Detroit -- Miguel Tejada and Luis Matos homered, and Baltimore snapped a seven-game losing streak. B.J. Surhoff went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Orioles, who bounced back with a win after being outscored 41-17 in a three-game series against the New York Yankees. The Tigers had 10 hits, a night after tying a team record with 27 in a 17-7 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Indians 1, Athletics 0

Cleveland -- Casey Blake hit the third pitch by reliever Jim Mecir into the left-field bleachers to give Cleveland the victory. Blake lined a 1-1 pitch from Mecir (0-4) for his sixth homer -- and second game-winning shot this season at Jacobs Field.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 4

Boston -- Pedro Martinez remained undefeated against Seattle, and David Ortiz's grand slam capped a five-run fifth inning to lift Boston over the Mariners. Manny Ramirez hit his 13th homer for Boston, which has won eight of 10. Bret Boone and Rich Aurilia each had solo homers for the Mariners. Martinez (5-3) has won all 13 games he's pitched against the Mariners -- he won once in relief .

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