Giants spoil Yankees' day honoring Rivera

Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- For Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, there will not be a next season and for the New York Yankees the chance of not playing in October might have become more of a reality on Sunday.
On a day Rivera was honored in a pregame ceremony and Pettitte made his last start at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees dropped four games out in the race for the American League's second wild-card spot, suffering a 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees lost for the 10th time in 17 games and though they are not officially eliminated, they will have six games remaining to make up the deficit starting Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"We're still alive obviously," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "But this one really hurts."
"It's difficult," Rivera said. "I'm trying to be focused on the season and also today was a big day for me and my family, but going to the playoffs is what we want and it's getting a little bit tougher, especially with a loss like today's game."
The day was shaping up to be a storybook finish for the Yankees, who honored the retiring Rivera before the game with a 50-minute pregame ceremony. The Yankees retired Rivera's No. 42 in Monument Park and presented him with several gifts. There was a video tribute appearances by many of his former teammates. The heavy-metal group Mettalica made a surprise appearance and performed "Enter Sandman."
"It's not the result I was looking for, but it was a great day," Rivera said. "I didn't know what to feel, especially at the monument where they have the number retired already. It was emotional and a lot of adrenaline, but overall it was great."
"That's disappointing because it's all about that," Pettitte said of the Yankees' chances of making the postseason slipping away. "Of course I appreciated it and I loved that but it's extremely disappointing to know we may not be there."
Rivera's song blared one more time Sunday but it was not to save a win by Pettitte for the 73rd time, extending their all-time record. Instead it was after Tony Abreu's double against David Robertson with one out in the eighth provided the final margin.
Robertson came in after Pettitte allowed Pablo Sandoval's lead-off double. Normally Pettitte would be beating himself up about the pitch, but he officially announced his retirement Friday and this time, he took a moment to absorb the standing ovation from the crowd of 49,197 by taking a slow walk off the mound and tipping his cap.
"I made a terrible mistake there in the eighth inning, giving up that double and it ended up being the ballgame."
After accepting handshakes from teammates, Pettitte came back out for a curtain call before taking a seat with the hopes that the game would remain tied.
"It was great, it really was," Pettitte said. "It was amazing. It ended with me giving up a double and I told you all (the media) the other day that I sprint off the mound because I'm so mad I'm getting pulled out of the game and I go in the dugout. That was a situation right there where you're just thinking 'my goodness' the pitch you just made and the mistake you made and Joe's got to come and get you.
"It was a great moment for me. I really enjoyed it. I was glad I got the opportunity to do that."
Girardi said that his scouting reports said Abreu was a poor curveball hitter, yet when Robertson threw him a first-pitch curveball, the ball was lined to right field and pinch runner Nick Noonan scored.
One batter later, Rivera came on and did his part by getting the final two outs of the eighth while breaking Buster Posey's bat on a pop-up and retiring Hunter Pence on a double play in the ninth.
They stranded two in the seventh against Javier Lopez and had two runners thrown out at the plate in the eighth against Santiago Casilla, including Robinson Cano, who appeared to tweak an ankle after getting thrown out by left fielder Juan Perez.
An inning later, the Yankees went quietly as rookie J.R. Murphy, despite the crowd chanting his name, struck out swinging against Sergio Romo, who converted his 36th save. Romo savored the moment of earning the save on Rivera's day.
"Mariano, I mean, he toed the rubber before I did today," Romo said. "That's pretty sweet.
Had the Yankees extended the game, Rivera would have pitched the 10th since he was only at 16 pitches.
"We've talked about it," Girardi said. "He's got nothing to save in a sense. There is no next year."
"I wanted to win the game," Rivera said. "At that time you don't think about it, especially in that moment. You just want to go and help the team as much as you can. I was ready for that. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but yes I was ready for it."
Before Rivera came on and the Yankee attempt at some late-inning drama stalled, Pettitte seemed on course for a dramatic performance.
Pettitte retired the first 14 hitters and had a no-hitter until one out in the sixth when rookie Ehrie Adrianza reached over the plate and sent a 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his first career home run.
The Yankee offense produced just a solo home run by Mark Reynolds in the third against San Francisco starter Yusmeiro Petit, who allowed one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. After Reynolds hit his 20th home run, New York stranded eight and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
NOTES: Rivera said the Metallica's appearance surprised him the most and that he no idea what was planned for the ceremony. He also said this brief speech, which including him thanking his parents for having him, was unplanned. ... Rivera was joined on the field by longtime teammates Jeff Nelson, David Cone, John Wetteland, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. That group won a combined 27 championship rings while playing alongside Rivera. ... Sandoval played despite tweaking his back Saturday while INFs Marco Scutaro (finger) and Joaquin Arias (hamstring) sat out for the Giants.

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