Rivera Blows Save; Yanks Lose

Mariano Rivera has been one of the most automatic closers in the history of baseball over his career, but has been anything but lately. Rivera blew his second straight save opportunity in a 5-4 Rangers win at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.

Rivera came in for the ninth inning in a 4-3 Yankees lead, but walked pinch-hitter Rafael Palmeiro to start the inning. Donnie Sadler followed at the plate and bunted to Rivera, who threw the ball into right field, as visions of the 2001 World Series went into the minds of Yankees fans everywhere.

Hank Blalock came up next as a pinch-hitter and ripped a two-run single into right field to drive in what would turn out to be the winning run.

Things were looking bright for the Yankees early in the game. In the second, it appeared that Enrique Wilson was hit by a pitch with runners on second and third base. However, it was ruled a wild pitch to score Hideki Matsui and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers' offense finally put pressure on Yankees starter David Wells in the fifth inning. Sadler hit a sacrifice fly to score former Yankees prospect Marcus Thames to even the score at 1-1.

In the sixth, Jason Giambi hit his second upper deck blast in as many days to give New York a 2-1 advantage over Texas ace John Thomson.

However, the Rangers responded in the next inning with an RBI groundout from former Yankee Todd Greene. In a seesaw affair, the Yankees offense came right back in the bottom half. Nick Johnson hit a titanic upper deck home run to give the Yankees another lead of 3-2.

Then, later in the inning with David Delluci on first, Wilson hit an RBI double down the left field line to increase the Yankees lead to 4-2.

It appeared that a two-run lead might be enough for Wells to hold, but Rangers superstar Alex Rodriguez hit a Wells offering into the left field seats to shorten the lead to 4-3.

Wells went seven innings, allowing three earned runs, eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

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