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Yankees 5, Astros 1 (14 innings)

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The New York Yankees seemed reticent to let Mariano Rivera's career officially end.

Finally in the 14th inning, Yankees first baseman Mark Reynolds slammed a solo home run to left field, propelling New York past Houston 5-1 on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

Reynolds' home run on a 1-1 pitch with no outs in the top of the 14th, ended five innings of scoreless baseball for both teams. Eduardo Nunez added a two-run double and J.R. Murphy singled to left to score Nunez, extending the Yankees lead to four runs and allowing the Astros and Yankees to finally wrap up the season.

Following his dramatic exit from the mound at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, retiring Yankee closer Mariano Rivera explained to the Houston crowd before the game his decision not to play against the Astros.

There had been talk that Rivera wanted to play center field in Houston, but Rivera decided to pass on the chance.

"I want to make sure that I apologize to the organization, the Houston Astros, to the players, to the real fans here in Houston because I couldn't compete on my last three days of the season against you guys," Rivera said. "The reason why I do that is because I want to leave with the game that I played there in Yankee Stadium. I want to keep that memory in mind."

The Astros honored Rivera with a ceremony highlighted by speeches from Joe Torre and Roger Clemens. The Astros presented Rivera with a No. 42 painting featuring a collage of 13 highlights of his career coinciding with his 13 All-Star Game appearances.

Torre attributed his longevity as a Yankee manager to relying on Rivera to close games.

"Trust me," he said. "You don't get a chance to manage for George Steinbrenner for 12 years unless you have somebody like this who's coming out of that bullpen."

With the question of whether or not Rivera would come running out of the bullpen one more time answered, the Astros and Yankees got on with finishing up the season.

Though it took a while.

Astros starter Erik Bedard shut down the Yankees through the first seven innings, allowing just three hits and five runners during that stretch.

Houston grabbed a one-run edge in the first when Jonathan Villar led off the game by doubling to left. Matt Dominguez singled to left, driving in Villar for the go-ahead run.

Bedard exited after seven innings and the Astros bullpen failed to hold the lead for him. Nunez doubled to left off reliever Josh Zeid with one out in the eighth. Zeid then struck out Murphy for the second out, but Astros reliever Kevin Chapman entered and gave up a Curtis Granderson single to center that scored Nunez and tied the game at 1.

NOTES: Houston opened and closed the 2013 season in dramatic fashion in its ballpark. The Astros defeated the Texas Rangers 8-2 in the MLB season-opener on March 31. Houston then closed the season by honoring Rivera in his final game. ... The Yankees finished with their fewest wins in a 162-game season since the 1992 campaign when they posted a 76-86 mark. New York missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, but extended its streak of winning seasons to 21, the second longest stretch in MLB history. The longest is the Yankees run of 39-straight winning seasons from 1926-64. ... New York swept the Astros for the second time in two all-time trips to Houston, improving its record at the Astros to 6-0.
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