Big League Stew

David Robertson gets first save in the post-Mariano Rivera era — but it was a struggle

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The description of the MLB.com video reads: "David Robertson pitches a scoreless ninth to record his first save since Mariano Rivera suffered a season-ending injury."

Well, it's true, isn't it? No doubt, though it leaves out the part about how the Tampa Bay Rays loaded the bases and made fans at Yankee Stadium squirm while they were wondering if Rivera could hobble out there on crutches anyway and try for the save.

"Tonight I was thinking, 'Geez, better not blow your first one,''' Robertson said. ''Better not blow your first opportunity or Mo might come in here and smack me around.''

Turns out there was no need for smacking. Robertson had this. He struck out Carlos Peña to secure a 5-4 victory in the Bronx.

Robertson came in unscored-upon over 12 innings, but those "are different innings" as Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said. And even though they shouldn't be, there always seems to be something different about pitching against a team when it's down to it's final three at-bats.

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And there was something different about Robertson coming at all for the ninth — even before he threw a pitch.

Instead of hearing the sound of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" — Rivera's theme — the stadium was treated to "Sweet Home Alabama." That's usually an eighth-inning tune.

And Robertson, for whatever reason, had a little trouble adjusting himself.

After retiring Jeff Keppinger on a grounder, Robertson walked Will Rhymes and allowed a single to Sean Rodriguez. Pinch-hitter Brandon Allen struck out and Ben Zobrist walked to load the bases. Peña ran the count to 2-2 before taking on the outside corner for strike three.

Just like Mo Rivera would have done it, right Robbie?

''I think Mo would've thrown 12 pitches and broke a bat and we would have been out of here 20 minutes ago,'' Robertson said.

Well, there's no such thing as style points when looking at the save column. Either you blow it or you don't. And he didn't blow it — this time.

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