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Yankees’ Mariano Rivera Gets 600th Save, One Shy of Record

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Mariano Rivera collected his 600th career save in the New York Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Rivera, 41, is one save shy of Trevor Hoffman’s record after becoming the second pitcher in Major League Baseball to reach the milestone.

Rivera has spent his entire 17-year major league career with the Yankees while establishing himself as the sport’s premier closer. Rivera has 41 saves this season, his eighth with at least 40 saves. He said he wasn’t thinking about getting the record.

“Maybe later on after I retire, but right now I’m not focused on that,” Rivera said, according to the Associated Press. “I’m not that type of guy. I’m a team player. I tell you guys many times and I’ll continue to tell you, it doesn’t depend on myself. It depends on my teammates giving me the opportunity to be able to pitch.”

The 12-time All-Star has averaged 40 saves a year since moving into New York’s closer role in 1997 and is one of two relievers with two 50-save seasons. In helping the Yankees win five World Series titles, he’s also totaled a record 42 postseason saves, more than twice as many as any other pitcher and 38 more than Hoffman, who retired in January.

“The best ever. I keep saying the same thing over and over every time I talk about Mo, but it’s true,” Jorge Posada, who spent more than 15 years catching for Rivera, told MLB.com before last night’s win. “There’s nobody who’s ever going to get close to what he’s been able to achieve.”

After Rivera and Hoffman, no other pitchers have even reached the 500-save milestone. Lee Smith ranks third with 478, while John Franco and Billy Wagner are the only other relievers to top 400 saves.

Two-Year Deal

Since Rivera posted a 3.15 earned run average in 2007 with 30 saves -- his second-fewest as a closer -- he’s logged a 1.85 ERA over the past four seasons. Rivera has one season remaining on the two-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Yankees during the offseason.

Rivera last night relieved David Robertson for the final inning at Safeco Field in Seattle. He gave up a one-out single to Ichiro Suzuki and struck out Wily Mo Pena and Kyle Seager before Suzuki was caught trying to steal second base to end the game.

The win takes New York to 90-57, four games ahead of the Boston Red Sox atop the American League East division.

Tim Wakefield, 45, got his 200th career win as the Red Sox routed the Toronto Blue Jays 18-6 at Fenway Park in Boston last night. Dustin Pedroia hit two home runs as the Red Sox ended a five-game losing streak to improve to 86-61, four games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL wildcard standings.

“I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to wear this uniform for as long as I have and reached a milestone that I thought I’d never reach,” Wakefield told reporters.

Wakefield gave up five runs on six hits in six innings, while striking out six.

‘Gift From God’

Rivera, the son of a Panamanian fisherman, has been successful while predominantly throwing two pitches -- a sinker and a bat-breaking cut fastball, which he discovered in a 1997 warm-up session and has called a gift from God.

“It was more about location than anything with him,” said Posada, who caught Rivera for more than 15 years dating back to their time in the Yankees’ minor-league system. “He made it really simple for me. Cutter, sinker, make sure the location is there and go to work.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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