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Mariano Rivera sets saves record

September 19, 2011 |  2:27 pm


Yankees closer Mariano Rivera set the major league record with his 602nd career save, pitching a perfect ninth inning Monday to preserve New York's 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

With fans in Yankee Stadium standing and cheering from his first pitch to his last, Rivera retired Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmelee to end it.

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

After the last out was recorded, catcher Russell Martin (a former Dodger) came out to the mound, placed the ball in Rivera's glove and gave him a big hug.

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

Rivera seems a lock to make the Hall of Fame. Just five pitchers who were primarily relievers are in the Hall: Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004), Bruce Sutter (2006) and Rich Gossage (2008).


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Photo: Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd after recording his record-setting 602nd save. Credit: Justin Lane / European Pressphoto Agency