One day, two NY ballparks, two saves for Mo
Closer part of many memorable moments against Mets, but twin bill is his favorite
As Mariano Rivera prepares to retire, the closer's farewell tour has become a central subplot to the season. Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader has been greeted warmly in each of his road stops, and the Yankees are planning a ceremony of their own to honor Rivera's illustrious career in September.
Rivera will be the last active player to regularly wear uniform No. 42, with the number having been retired throughout MLB in 1997 to honor the achievements of barrier-breaking great Jackie Robinson. During his 19-year big league career, Rivera has also chiseled his own mark on the number's legacy. In honor of Rivera and his contributions, MLB.com is commemorating 42 notable moments from Rivera's career -- the 42 Days of Mo.
Some of Mariano Rivera's finest moments have come against the Mets -- look no further than his 500th save and lone career RBI in 2009, or his work in the 2000 World Series.
But Rivera's favorite Subway Series moment actually happened earlier in the 2000 season, on July 8, when the Yankees and Mets played a doubleheader split between Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium due to an earlier rainout. Rivera saved both ends of the twin bill, tossing two scoreless innings on a busy day of work.
"[When] I saved two games in one day; we played in two stadiums in one day," Rivera told Newsday earlier this season when asked about his most memorable Subway Series performance.
Rivera's first save of the day came at Shea Stadium, where the Yankees beat the Mets, 4-2. Rivera entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning after starter Dwight Gooden and relievers Jason Grimsley and Jeff Nelson handled the opening eight innings.
It was a classic 1-2-3 inning for Rivera, as he threw only 11 pitches to lock up his 20th save of the year. He induced a groundout from Mets first baseman Todd Zeile, struck out center fielder Jay Payton and recorded the final out on a pop fly from Benny Agbayani.
A couple hours later, Yankees manager Joe Torre called upon Rivera again. Roger Clemens had thrown 7 1/3 innings, Mike Stanton had picked up the other two outs and in came Rivera for the top of the ninth, once again with a 4-2 lead.
Payton got on base after an error and took second on defensive indifference, but Rivera got two flyouts and a groundout to lock down the victory.
And just like that: two games, six outs, two saves, one day.
Rivera has accomplished that particular feat six times in his storied career, and he showed earlier this year that he's still capable, even at age 43, of working overtime by pitching in both halves of an Aug. 20 doubleheader against the Blue Jays. He didn't get credit for the save in either situation, as he recorded two outs in an 8-4 win in Game 1 and was credited with a win in Game 2.