The Tampa Bay Rays rallied for two runs off career saves leader Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees 7-6 in the season opener for both teams.
Rivera, 42, who leads Major League Baseball’s list with 603 saves, allowed a run-scoring triple by Ben Zobrist and a game-winning single by Carlos Pena. He gave up two runs on three hits and two intentional walks in one-third of an inning.
Rivera had converted 60 of 61 saves against the Rays, and Pena had been hitless in 11 career at-bats against Rivera.
“When you see him blow one, it’s shocking,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. “It’s going to happen. It happened. It’s baseball.”
Rivera entered yesterday’s game at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field with a 6-5 lead. Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who gave up a grand slam to Pena in the first inning and allowed five runs in six innings, was in line for the win until Rivera blew the save.
“My fault,” Rivera said. “I felt good. I don’t make excuses. I just left the ball up.”
Raul Ibanez, who joined the Yankees as a free agent in February, hit a three-run homer in the third.