Unlike Saturday, when his manager ordered him to walk Evan Longoria(notes), Rivera got his chance to face Tampa Bay’s slugger, this time with two outs in the ninth inning and a one-run lead to protect.
And the outcome was more familiar. Rivera got Longoria to ground meekly to second, closing out the New York Yankees’ 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Rays on Sunday for his 495th career save.
“I guess Mo was right,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Nick Swisher(notes) hit the 100th home run at the new Yankee Stadium, helping Girardi earn his 200th win as a manager. Alfredo Aceves(notes) (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings in New York’s major league-leading 20th comeback victory this season.
“It’s the comeback kids,” Swisher said. “In a sense it just feels like that. When we get in those situations we hunker down and really, really get after the guy.”
Rivera was upset after being forced to intentionally walk an ailing Longoria to face B.J. Upton(notes) in the Rays’ four-run ninth inning of a 9-7 victory Saturday. On Sunday, however, he said he didn’t second-guess his manager and had forgotten the outing before the game.
“You can’t come to a game angry or with too much venom. Then you are not in control of what you are doing,” Rivera said. “I have to control myself before I can go out and pitch. Yesterday is over. What can I do?”
With the Yankees trailing 3-1 with one out in the eighth, Johnny Damon(notes) lined a single off Grant Balfour(notes) (2-1), and Mark Teixeira(notes) followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Alex Rodriguez(notes) walked to load the bases.
J.P. Howell(notes) relieved and walked Robinson Cano(notes), making it 3-2. Jorge Posada(notes) then hit a bouncer to third that Willy Aybar(notes), subbing for Longoria (hamstring), couldn’t handle. Teixeira scored the tying run, Posada was given an RBI and Aybar was charged with an error.
“They’re like us, they do play all nine,” said Howell, who walked two while getting just two outs. “They’re ready to take advantage because you’re going to get a break and they’re ready to pounce when they get one.”
Matsui then chopped a soft grounder to second and beat the throw to first, preventing an inning-ending double play and giving New York a 4-3 lead.
“When I hit the ball it was hit pretty weakly. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be a double play,” said Matsui, who has struggled with leg injuries this season but insisted he was close to 100 percent.
Swisher’s 11th homer in the third made it 28 games in a row with a homer to open the ballpark, extending a record—Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico opened with long balls in 22 straight. There were 160 homers last season at the old Yankee Stadium.
Upton had an RBI double in the third and Gabe Gross(notes) hit a two-run single in the sixth to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. The Rays, who had been 3-0 in New York this season, had their season-best four-game winning streak snapped.
Matt Garza(notes) outpitched Joba Chamberlain(notes) in a matchup of hard-throwing youngsters that was over early. Garza was done after a tense fifth inning, his shortest outing in 12 starts this season, and Chamberlain left after the sixth.
Garza gave up four hits and struck out three. The 25-year-old right-hander, however, walked the first two batters he faced in the fifth and was done after getting Teixeira to pop out with the bases loaded. He had not gone less than 5 2-3 innings this season.
“I went out there and gave it all I have,” Garza said. “You know, I told (pitching coach Jim) Hickey before I went out that I wasn’t 100 percent. My lower half didn’t feel right.”
Chamberlain was less fortunate when he issued his first walk—to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. After the free pass to Matt Joyce(notes), Gross grounded a ball into center field to make it 3-1.
Girardi is 200-183 in his third year as a major league manager. … Yankees setup man Brian Bruney(notes) had a bullpen session. Out with a strained right elbow, Bruney has pitched only once for New York since April 21. He said the 30-pitch session was a “huge positive step.”