(Highlight of the day. Courtesy of Getty Images)
Happy Mariano Rivera Day, everybody! What a bittersweet day. There's no modern baseball player more worthy of being honored like this in his final season and final home series than Mo, but the price of him having to retire after this season to make it possible is one many Yankee fans still aren't willing to pay. It's still a bit strange to think that Mo isn't going to be back next year. He's been such a fixture as a part of the Yankees for the past 19 years that it's almost as if the Yankees aren't the Yankees if he's not out in that bullpen. The pregame ceremony was as outstanding as you'd expect it to be. Events like this are things the Yankees always get right and if it didn't get a little dusty in your place while you were watching, well then you just aren't as big a Yankee fan as you think you are. Once the game got going and Andy Pettitte took the mound for his final Yankee Stadium start, it looked like things would finish in storybook fashion. Some bad late plays changed that feeling in a hurry.
- The delayed start for the ceremony didn't affect Andy in the least, at least not that showed on the field. He sat the San Fran lineup down in order through 3 with 3 swinging strikeouts and a handful of groundball outs. He was on.
- A lot of Yankee hitters got good wood on flyballs in the first 2 innings that died before they got to the wall, and for once YS3 didn't look conducive to home run hitting. Mark Reynolds finally got enough of one to hit it out into the SF bullpen for a leadoff HR and the Yanks grabbed the early lead.
- Andy started to lose the sharpness of his offspeed stuff as his pitch count rose, but he still made a lot of great 2-strike pitches and held the Giants hitless through 5.
- That lost sharpness came back to haunt Pettitte in the 6th on a 2-strike hanger to Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza lined it into the left field seats for a game-tying home run that also broke up the no-hitter at 5.1 innings.
- Part lame lineup, part solid performance by Yusmiero Petit, the Yankees never put another run on the board into the 7th inning. A pair of singles by Eduardo Nunez and Brendan Ryan gave them a scoring chance with 1 out, but they were stranded on a pair of strikeouts by Vernon Wells and Ichiro.
- Andy got his well deserved ovation after a Pablo Sandoval double to start the 8th and it went to the 'pen. David Robertson came in and promptly gave up the go-ahead run on a couple of hanging curveballs to make it 2-1 Giants.
- The Yankees look like they'd finally get the dramatic run(s) they needed in the 8th after an A-Rod leadoff single and Robinson Cano's second double of the day put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Some terrible baserunning by Zoilo Almonte, terrible hitting by Curtis Granderson, and a great defensive play conspired to somehow keep anybody from scoring and break Yankee Stadium's heart in the process.
- Mo threw a scoreless 9th, but Sergio Romo shut down the bottom of the order (surprise) in the bottom of the 9th to turn what could have been a great day into a much crappier one.
- Andy: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. The best of all his late-season outings, and in dramatic fashion he saved it for his last in front of his home fans. Andy was working quick all day, throwing all his pitches for strikes, and coaxing a lot of weak swings out of the Giants lineup. He truly deserved better from his lineup and his relief pitching on this day.
- Reynolds: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. Responsible for the only run of support that Andy and Mo got.
- D-Rob: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R. Strange line to get you on this list, but D-Rob threw 2 bad curveballs, 1 to move the runner over and 1 to bring him home, to ruin Andy's great start and in all likelihood kill the last real hope of making the playoffs the Yankees still had.
- Ichiro: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 LOB. Getting paid every cent of his $6.5 million next year. Really wish the team would have got creative on that contract.
- C-Grand: 0-4, 3 K, 5 LOB. Putrid day at the plate. Looked overmatched on all 3 strikeouts.
The Yanks will get an off-day to let this loss really sink in and then welcome the Rays to town on Tuesday to put a true end to their postseason chances. Hiroki Kuroda gets that start on Tuesday.