On a normal day, a late tie-breaking grand slam by Robinson Cano, another big home run from Curtis Granderson and a record-tying save by Mariano Rivera would leave Yankees fans with feelings of joy and satisfaction.
But this was no normal day, and although the Yankees came away with an important 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday thanks to a critical mistake by the Angels and Cano’s ability to capitalize, Rivera did nothing to allay fears about his recent slump.
Rivera encountered serious problems for a third consecutive outing. Trying to protect a four-run lead, Rivera surrendered a three-run homer to Russell Branyan on the first pitch he threw, turning what had appeared to be a comfortable victory into a narrow escape.
Rivera did get the final two outs for his 30th save of the year, tying Trevor Hoffman with 14 consecutive seasons of at least 30 saves, but the record and even the save felt hollow to him.
“I can’t care less about that stuff,” he said. “As long as I do my job, that’s what I want, and lately I haven’t done it. So, it won’t make me or break me. But games like this get me upset.”