Found June 16, 2013 on
Fox Sports West:
ANAHEIM, Calif. New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera began his Hall of Fame career in 1995 against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium. He picked up the first of his 632 career saves 51 weeks later against the Angels at the same ballpark. And if Rivera goes through with plans to retire after this season, one of his most dramatic saves ever came yep, against the Angels at Angels Stadium.
The Yankees entered the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday with a 6-0 lead, cruising behind the left arm of CC Sabathia (7-5). However, Sabathia couldnt get an out and was replaced by David Robertson. Robertson could only get one out, and was relieved by the man many consider the greatest relief pitcher of all time.
Rivera made it interesting before wrapping up the Bombers' 6-5 win, which ended their five-game losing skid and the Angels three-game winning streak. And the final showdown was one for the ages.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the bases loaded for the Halos, up stepped arguably one oof the greatest hitter of his generation, Albert Pujols. The scene was set up for another Angels victory, but it wasnt meant to be as Rivera struck out Pujols on three pitches to preserve the Yankee win.
Even in losing, the Angels were proud of their near-accomplishment.
"It was fun to be part of such a great rally," said Mark Trumbo. "You know the odds are against you, but we made it close. Sometimes thats about all you can hope for against a guy like Rivera."
Manager Mike Scioscia agreed with Trumbo.
"We had some good at bats (in the ninth inning) and some guys off the bench did a good job," said Scioscia, referring to JB Shuck and Brad Hawpe who reached base to keep the five-run rally going. "Unfortunately, we just couldnt get that tying run across. Rivera made some tough pitches to Albert."
Despite the near-comeback, it was still a loss for the Angels and another reason to worry about their ace right-hander Jered Weaver.
The Yanks got to Weaver for five runs in the third inning, including a three-run home run from Travis Hafner to give New York a 3-0 lead. Weaver, who missed seven weeks after fracturing his left arm against Texas on April 7, had an solid return outing against the Dodgers, but has struggled with location and velocity since his return to the mound.
Theres been concern that Weaver has seen his fastball drop from around 91-93 MPH to 84-87 on the radar gun. Hes a talented enough pitcher that can easily overcome the lack of speed with location perfect location. But the last two starts for the 1-3 Weaver have been struggles to put the ball where he wants it to go. That led to big homers and two losses.
Weaver said he was very disappointed in himself.
"I didnt accomplish anything that I tried to do during the course of a game," said Weaver, who saw his ERA jump to 4.41. "I wasnt able to limit the damage in (the third) inning, and that turned out to be the difference in the game. You cant pitch like that when youre going up against a guy like CC."
Scioscia said he isnt really concerned about his ace.
"Weave will be fine," Scioscia said. "Hes one of the best pitchers in baseball and Im sure that once he finds a rhythm hell be the same pitcher hes always been for us.
"We definitely need him to pitch to his usual level if were going get back into this race."
And they need it to happen right away, as they fell 11 games behind Oakland in the AL West.
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