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Mets stun Yankees, Rivera

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch for the first time in his career Tuesday night.

A little less than three hours later, he walked out to the mound at Citi Field to finish a game for the 913th time.

Nine pitches later, he was walking off the field, having failed to record a single out in a save situation for the first time ever, as the New York Mets riotously celebrated behind him.

Lucas Duda's broken-bat RBI single to center field capped a stunningly quick two-run, ninth-inning rally by the Mets, who beat the Yankees 2-1 at a soggy Citi Field.

"I can't -- I mean, there's no words to explain it right now," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Most of the participants were at a loss to explain one of the most memorable -- and certainly the most surreal -- Subway Series games ever played.

"It's been great, everywhere I've been this year," said Rivera, who is retiring after the season and is being honored by opponents during his final visits. "And tonight, everything was great, until the ninth."

Rivera received gifts from the Mets during a pregame presentation, which ended with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon asking Rivera to throw out the first pitch. For a while, it appeared as if no pitches would be thrown, but day-long rains subsided and the game began at 8:41 p.m. EDT.

Yankees ace Hiroki Kuroda and Mets young ace Matt Harvey matched zeros until the sixth, when Brett Gardner -- who tripled leading off the sixth and scored the Yankees' only run in a 2-1 loss Monday -- singled, took second on a double and came around on a groundout and an RBI single by Lyle Overbay.

In the bottom of the sixth, Gardner robbed Daniel Murphy of a run-scoring extra-base hit -- just as he did in the bottom of the sixth Monday night -- by making a catch as he crashed into the wall.

"Obviously I'm frustrated when he takes it from me," Murphy said. "It was a carbon copy of what happened last night."

The inning ended with Ruben Tejada getting picked off second base and Collins getting thrown out for arguing that umpire Adrian Johnson originally called Tejada safe.

Kuroda exited after seven shutout innings of four-hit ball. David Robertson threw a perfect eighth, and it appeared as if the Yankees would earn a split of the two games in Citi Field when Rivera -- who was 18-for-18 in save opportunities entering the night -- trotted on to the field for the ninth.

Murphy, who had the game-winning RBI single Monday, led off the ninth with a ground-rule double down the left field line.

"I think it just goes to show that you know there's always another opportunity -- especially (after) that third at-bat, I know that fourth at-bat's coming to try to get in there and just have a good at-bat," Murphy said. "And fortunately we were able to come through tonight."

Wright laced a single to center on a 2-0 pitch, and Murphy scored as Wright went to second on an error by Gardner, whose throw skipped away from catcher Chris Stewart.

"You got Mo coming in, it's usually game over," Wright said. "But anytime you get a chance to score a couple against Mo, you better take advantage of it because that opportunity doesn't come along often."

Duda followed by hitting a 1-1 pitch into center field to score Wright and unleash a wild celebration by the Mets, who have won three in a row for the first time since April 6-8.

"This series to us is huge -- this is a big, big series," Collins said. "This is a team that's struggling against a team that's playing great. We're frustrated, they're not. This means a lot to us. And to have two wins against them, it's emotional for us."

Duda's hit was reminiscent of Matt Franco's pinch-hit, walk-off, two-run single against Rivera in a 9-8 win at Shea Stadium on July 10, 1999. Duda grew up in Riverside, Calif. -- a little more than an hour from where Franco grew up in Santa Monica.

That Duda got the hit to saddle Rivera with the loss was perhaps the most surprising thing to happen Tuesday night. Duda entered the game 4-for-32 (.125) with runners in scoring position.

"I've struggled lately, there's no going around it," Duda said. "Murph did a great job getting on with that double and then David with another key hit. Luckily I just got jammed and it went over (second baseman Robinson) Cano's head."

For Rivera, it was just the 24th time in his career he has served up a walk-off hit.

"It's baseball, and anything can happen." said Rivera, the all-time record holder with 626 saves. "It happened quick."

Duda's hit spared Harvey (eight innings, six hits, one run, 10 strikeouts) his first loss and made a winner out of Scott Rice (3-3).

"It's surreal, you know?" Rice said. "You've seen Mariano pitch so many times and you've seen him do well. Really wasn't expecting (him) to give up hits like that, but I guess it just shows it happens to the best of us."

The rapidity of the loss seemed to stun the Yankees, who have lost three in a row. Manager Joe Girardi arrived at his postgame press conference already dressed in street clothes and spoke for barely more than two minutes. He left without touching the bottle of water that had been placed at the podium for him.

"You knew at some point it would probably happen," Girardi said of Rivera's first blown save of the year.

It did, on a night in which Rivera's final pitch was as unprecedented as his first one.

NOTES: Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former Mets closer John Franco, who has the fourth-most saves in history (424). Rivera also received a hose nozzle and an FDNY call box from Wilpon and New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano . ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (right arm) and 3B Kevin Youkilis (lumbar spine sprain) are scheduled to begin rehab assignments at Double-A Trenton on Wednesday. Both players will also play for Trenton on Thursday before they are re-evaluated. Girardi said Tuesday afternoon that it was possible both players could return to the Yankees' active roster Friday. ... The Yankees activated RHP Joba Chamberlain, who hasn't pitched since April 27 because of an oblique injury, off the 15-day disabled list and designated LHP David Huff for assignment. ... Collins said RHP Scott Atchison (right elbow inflammation) could be activated after his next rehab appearance with Class A St. Lucie. ... Mets RHP Jeurys Familia (right biceps tendinitis), who began a rehab assignment at St. Lucie on Saturday, is expected to make his next appearance at Triple-A Las Vegas.
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