Rivera 2nd on saves list, Yankees top White Sox
NEW YORK (AP)—Mariano Rivera has one reliever left in front of him. He’d rather be chasing another World Series ring.
Rivera moved into second place on the career saves list and the New York Yankees stalled Chicago’s postseason push, beating the White Sox 4-2 on Monday night.
“To me, it’s fine. But to me it’s about winning, and that’s what I care about,” Rivera said.
The White Sox, who still lead the AL Central by 1 1/2 games over Minnesota, wasted six strong innings by Mark Buehrle and DeWayne Wise’s two-run homer off Alfredo Aceves. They arrived at their New York hotel about 4 a.m. following a doubleheader sweep of Detroit on Sunday night.
The Twins lost 3-1 Monday night at Cleveland.
“You really want to concentrate on your games, but you can’t help but look up at the scoreboard and hope they’re losing,” Buehrle said.
Beginning its final week at Yankee Stadium—barring an incredible playoff surge—New York got a two-run shot from Xavier Nady in the second inning and a tiebreaking double by pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit in the seventh.
“I’m still waiting for it to hit me because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be about as big as a truck,” Coke said.
Rivera got three quick outs for his 36th save in 37 chances this season and No. 479 of his career, passing Lee Smith for second place.
Would it mean more to him if the Yankees had a better chance to play in October?
“Oh, definitely,” Rivera said. “I would do anything to be able to do that. But we have to continue.”
San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman holds the saves record. He began the night with 552.
Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, remaining tied with Lou Gehrig for the most hits at Yankee Stadium (1,269). Cameras flashed all around the ballpark before virtually every pitch to Jeter.
“I don’t know how you hit with that. There’s just so many,” New York manager Joe Girardi said.
The crowd even included St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who sat next to the third base dugout with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. La Russa took advantage of an opportunity to see Yankee Stadium one last time. The Cardinals were off Monday and play in Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
“I really didn’t know what to expect going into this last homestand. The fans have been a lot of fun, energetic,” Jeter said. “It’s like a playoff atmosphere.”
Girardi benched second baseman Robinson Cano again for not hustling after a ball Sunday against Tampa Bay. He was lifted from that game in the fifth and replaced in Monday night’s starting lineup by Cody Ransom.
Cano entered as a pinch runner in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, making a fine, barehanded play on Jim Thome’s grounder to begin the ninth.
Girardi said he would decide Tuesday whether Cano will start.
With the score tied at 2, Nady drew a leadoff walk from Ehren Wassermann (1-2) in the seventh and advanced to second on Ransom’s sacrifice. Betemit doubled to left off Horacio Ramirez and scored on Johnny Damon’s two-out single.
“The bullpen needs to get better,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We need to add people to the bullpen, but it is shrinking. I need to do my job and put the best guy out there.
“I lost my touch the last few weeks. If I got paid every time that I went to the mound, I wouldn’t need a salary.”
Wise connected in the fourth off Aceves, who tossed six solid innings in his second major league start. He beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-1 in the first one last week.
White Sox 1B Paul Konerko (knee) took batting practice indoors and expects to return to the lineup Tuesday night. … Ken Griffey Jr. made a couple of fine plays in center field for Chicago. … DH-LF Hideki Matsui said he would consider having surgery on his left knee as soon as the Yankees are mathematically eliminated. If he does, he expects to be ready for spring training. … Jeter has 8,001 at-bats, tied with Gehrig for second-most in Yankees history behind Mickey Mantle (8,102). … RHP Phil Hughes is slated to start Wednesday night for the Yankees. … Wise hit a go-ahead grand slam in eighth inning Sunday night against the Tigers. … New York is 54-20 when scoring first. … The Yankees started removing old photos from the walls in the stadium basement. Team spokesman Jason Zillo said some had already been stolen.