Rivera now all-time saves king
Updated: 2011-09-21 07:52
NEW YORK - New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera set Major League Baseball's career saves record with his 602nd on Monday when he retired the Minnesota Twins in order in the ninth inning.
Rivera got Trevor Plouffe to ground out to second, Michael Cuddyer to fly out to right and then struck out Chris Parmelee, caught looking on his signature cutter, to preserve New York's 6-4 win for his 43rd save of the season.
"I couldn't even dream about this," Rivera said during an on-field interview while even the Twins players looked on from their dugout. "From what it was back home in Panama to now it's a tremendous journey.
"All I can say is thank God for my teammates, they give me the opportunity."
Rivera's teammates ran out of the dugout to congratulate him and later his longtime catcher Jorge Posada and slugger Alex Rodriguez pushed him out to the mound at Yankee Stadium to stand alone and acknowledge the cheers of the fans.
The 41-year-old Rivera surpassed former San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, who became the saves leader in September 2006 when he recorded his 479th save to pass Lee Smith. Hoffman would register another 122 saves before retiring last offseason with 601 career saves.
"I want to congratulate Mariano Rivera on setting the all-time saves record. It's a great accomplishment and he is still going strong," Hoffman said in a statement.
"I have tremendous respect for Mariano, not just for his on-field accomplishments, but also for his service to the community."
Rivera's milestone save came in a makeup game against the Twins, who made a special one-day trip to New York to play a contest that was rained out in April.
As it got closer to Mariano time, fans were cheering outs made by the home team in hopes they would not increase the lead past three runs, thereby denying Rivera a save opportunity.
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