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Rivera sets save record as Yankees down Twins 6-4

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sports Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Rivera sets save record as Yankees down Twins 6-4
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chris Parmelee had a front-row seat for baseball history. Actually wound up being part of it, too.

The Twins rookie looked at strike three against Mariano Rivera to end Monday's 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees that gave the closer his record 602nd save and handed Minnesota its ninth straight loss.


"I thought it would be cool to face him, growing up, but now he's nasty," Parmelee said. "I'm excited for him and he deserved every bit of it."

Early on, as Scott Diamond struggled against the Yankees' powerful lineup, it looked as if there would be no need for Rivera. But Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer, Parmelee hit a solo shot and Luke Hughes drove in a run with a groundout in the Twins' three-run fifth.

"Unfortunately we lost the ballgame, but I thought we played a little bit better than we have lately," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Rivera came in to do what he's done a few too many times against us, but our guys had a chance to see the best in the game, and now he's put his mark on it for sure that he's the best in the game."

"This is one time when you've got to put yourself aside," Cuddyer said. "Obviously, you don't want to lose the game, but history and a record-breaking performance deserves applause. I don't care if you're playing against the guy or not."

The 41-year-old Rivera tied Trevor Hoffman with save No. 601 on Saturday in Toronto. The AL East leaders lost Sunday, putting Rivera in line to get the milestone in the Yankees' last homestand of the season.

In the bottom of the eighth, Nick Swisher grounded into an inning-ending double play -- and drew a loud cheer from fans who wanted to see history made at the ballpark for the second time this summer. In July, Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit at home.

"When I heard the fans cheering a double play, I was like, 'Oh, my God, these guys are into it,'" Rivera said.

It's a remarkable achievement, considering the slender right-hander throws mostly one pitch. Opposing hitters have seen it for years, but still haven't figured it out. In the meantime, he's built a Hall of Fame-caliber career and been a pillar of five World Series championship teams.

On Monday, the crowd hollered as Rivera came in to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." The fans grew louder with every strike, every out as Rivera closed in. He even broke a bat for good measure -- sawing off Parmelee and sending him back to the dugout for another piece of wood.

Parmelee lasted only one more pitch. Plate umpire John Hirschbeck rung him up, and catcher Russell Martin came out to the mound, gently placed the ball in Rivera's glove, and then gave him a big hug.

Rivera stayed and accepted congratulations -- Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and finally Jeter came over to him before the bullpen and bench got there while the Twins watched from their dugout.

"I think it shows what he means to baseball, what he's done," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I also think it shows the class of the Minnesota Twins."

Eventually, Rivera was left on the mound and tried to sneak off the field with his teammates. His longtime teammate Jorge Posada pushed him, laughing, onto the mound, where fans cheered him once again.

Rivera waved, blew a kiss and then doffed his cap to the afternoon crowd that was short of capacity, but buzzed with anticipation once the Yankees headed into the late innings with a close lead -- perfect for Rivera.

Rivera's 602 saves have come in 674 chances. Hoffman got his 601 in 677 tries.

Paid attendance was 40,045, less than the capacity crowd and attendant hullabaloo surrounding Jeter's historic hit. In fact, Monday's makeup game drew the smallest crowd at 3-year-old Yankee Stadium, STATS LLC said.

The losing streak is tied with a run in May as the Twins' worst this season. When Yankees starter A.J. Burnett started to struggle, they appeared to have a chance to end the misery.

"We had 10 hits after five innings, so we were going along pretty good ourselves," Gardenhire said. "I was happy how our team went out and played. This is not an easy trip, coming in here for one game and then flying back home, and I was happy with the way our guys went about their business and swing the bats. Unfortunately, we lost the ballgame, and the end result is what it's all about."

Burnett didn't make it past the fifth inning, but Cory Wade (6-1), Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson kept the Twins at bay until Rivera came on in the ninth, and Curtis Granderson hit his 41st homer of the year.

Granderson's homer off Scott Diamond (1-5) came in the first after Jeter reached on an infield single and Robinson Cano hit an RBI triple in the third followed by Swisher's single to make it 5-0. Rodriguez hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth -- right around the time Rivera was realizing he could be called on in the ninth as he has so many times before.

"Those of us that got started late probably will never have that opportunity," Twins closer Joe Nathan said. "I started when I was approaching 30 years old. I'm not trying to get to that number. I'm just trying to continue to do things to help the ballclub I'm with."

NOTES: Ben Revere set a Twins record for rookies by stealing his 32nd base in the third inning. Luis Rivas swiped 31 in 2001. ... Minnesota will return home for three games against the Mariners, where they would start Liam Hendricks (0-2) against Seattle's Jason Vargas (8-13).

Pioneer staff reports