NEW YORK—Mariano Rivera reported for work an inning early, and walked off to a fitting tribute.
Summoned in the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star game, the New York Yankees’ indomitable closer tossed a perfect inning and soaked up a pair of standing ovations while helping the American League to a 3–0 victory over the National League on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Rivera, who took home MVP honours, and nine other pitchers combined on a three-hitter for the AL, which snapped a three-game losing streak and regained home-field advantage in the World Series. Joe Nathan saved it in Rivera’s place after the American League scratched out a pair of runs and got an RBI double from Jason Kipnis.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to bring home Miguel Cabrera for the AL’s first run. Bautista struck out in his first at-bat versus NL starter Matt Harvey.
Edwin Encarnacion went 0-for-2 in his All-Star debut while Toronto-born Joey Votto, playing for the National League, extended his hitless streak in All-Star games to nine at-bats with an 0-for-2 performance.
Robinson Cano hobbled off early after getting hit by a pitch from cross-town rival Harvey of the hometown Mets. X-rays were negative and Cano said he shouldn’t miss any games for the Yankees.
Harvey and opposing starter Max Scherzer were among a record 39 first-time All-Stars in a game that featured four players 21 or younger—baseball’s next generation.
Both came out throwing 99 mph heat, but it was Rivera, at 43 the oldest All-Star since 1991, who was the centre of attention in his farewell season.
He came in from the bullpen to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” just like across town at Yankee Stadium, and was left alone on the field for more than a minute to take in a rousing ovation.
“It was a great moment. He is one of the best pitchers that’s ever played this game,” Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said.
Players on both sides clapped from the top of the dugout steps, and he tipped his cap to the crowd.
Then he went to work, retiring three straight hitters on 16 pitches before walking off to another ovation.
“It was tough. It was special,” an emotional Rivera said. “Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout, managers, coaches players, priceless.”
Both Blue Jays relievers—Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar—also made relief appearances in their first All-Star game, pitching to one batter each in the seventh inning. Both recorded strikeouts.
It was the ninth All-Star game in New York—most for any city—and second in five years after a farewell to old Yankee Stadium in 2008. But the only other time the Mets hosted was during Shea Stadium’s debut season in 1964, when Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison hit a game-ending homer in the ninth.
With files from The Canadian Press