Rivera blows it; Rangers beat Yankees 7-6
And he probably wasn’t too fond of the Texas Rangers celebrating as if they had won more than just a second straight marathon.
Pitching in the ninth inning with a one-run lead, Rivera allowed a tying double to Ian Kinsler(notes), then plunked Jeff Francoeur(notes) on the left shoulder with the bases loaded, giving the Rangers a 7-6 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night.
New York had been a majors-best 76-0 when leading after eight innings. Rivera had never lost on a game-ending hit batter, according to STATS LLC.
It was the first time the Rangers had ever won a game on a plunked final batter. The last team to win that way was the Yankees, against the Athletics on July 19, 2008.
The game lasted 4 hours, 16 minutes, the second-longest nine-inning game in Rangers history. But that doesn’t count the 59-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fifth. The really draining part is that it came the day after a 13-inning game that took 5 hours, 12 minutes.
Rivera (3-3) threw two innings in that game, but didn’t blame the workload on his poor outing. It was his third blown save in 32 chances. He had nailed his last 11.
“In a situation like that, I can’t walk the leadoff batter,” Rivera said. “That’s what bothers me most.”
Nelson Cruz(notes), who hit solo homers for the tying and winning runs Friday night, followed with a long at-bat that ended with a single to right, moving pinch-runner Esteban German(notes) to third base. Then Kinsler doubled down the third-base line to tie it.
“I fell behind and he hit the ball in the perfect place,” Rivera said. “He didn’t hit it hard, he placed it. You want a ground ball, but it was in the right place.”
After an intentional walk to load the bases, Rivera’s first pitch hit Francoeur. His reaction probably overemphasized the blow, but it made certain what had happened.
“I was looking for that cutter, but it kept running and running and it hit me,” Francoeur said. “I’ll take it every day.”
As Cruz trotted home for the winning run, teammates rushed to the greet him at the plate for a second straight night.
Team owner Nolan Ryan smiled and led the cheers from the front row. Much of the crowd of 49,210—second-largest this season—stuck around to watch the Rangers win their fourth straight game, and second straight over a possible first-round playoff foe, all after blowing leads of 4-2 and 5-3.
“We enjoy these kind of games,” Young said. “They’re long and emotionally taxing, but they’re the kind you want to be involved in.”
The Yankees lost for the fifth time in six games. Their lead in the AL East dipped to a half-game because Tampa Bay beat Toronto 13-1.
Alex Rodriguez(notes) put New York ahead 6-5 with a three-run double in the eighth. But the Yankees ultimately were bitten by some earlier missed opportunities— leaving the bases loaded in the second and sixth, and pinch-hitter Jorge Posada(notes) hitting into a double-play with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh.
Mark Teixeira(notes) was 2 for 4 and scored twice for New York. Lance Berkman(notes) went 2 for 3 with two walks and an RBI; he has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats. Francisco Cervelli(notes) reached base in his first four plate appearances, with a single and three walks. He also walked three times Friday night.
Burnett gave up two runs and four hits over four innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter(notes), mired in slumps of 2 for 18 and 7 for 61, did not start for just the sixth time this season. Manager Joe Girardi insisted it was because of the long game Friday night. … Hunter, who has had two strikeout-free starts this season, got his eight Ks in the first 12 outs. … Burnett ended all four of his innings with a strikeout. … Posada is scheduled to be back behind the plate Sunday after missing three starts with concussion symptoms.