It wasn’t spectacular, it wasn’t especially memorable, but the Yankees 4-2 win over the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium was satisfying, a fine way to follow-up Thursday’s clunker. Roy Halladay will pitch the Yankee Doodle Dandy affair tomorrow, so today’s “w” was a good start to this four-game series.
AJ Burnett had good control and threw seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits and a couple of walks. His record is now 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA. The two Phils–Coke and Hughes, teamed-up to get three outs in the eighth and That Man Rivera, the old gunslinger, pitched a one-two-three ninth, striking out two batters. Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez hit solo homers to bookend the Yankee scoring–they got two more on a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.
Just before Rodriguez homered into the right center field seats, I ate a couple of sour cherries that I bought last week. They were plump and juicy, like a fat grape, but the taste was pure cherry–tart and sour. It was almost carnal and I savored them as I watched the dinger. How sweet it is, I thought. It got even sweeter watching Rivera, the most graceful, elegant and efficient player I’ve had the pleasure to watch.
It doesn’t get old. In fact, Rivera is like a fine wine–each outing seems even sweeter now more than ever before. To think, he suffered blowing a save in Game 7 of the 2001 World Serious. That game could have finished a guy, buried his career, even a player of Rivera’s stature. Instead, he got better after that. He’s older, he’s given up some runs this year but he’s whiffed 42 batters in 33.2 innings. Oh yeah, he’s walked three guys.
Has any player ever given us Yankee fans the same feeling that Rivera has? I think not. He’s “the one.” We all know enough to be grateful. We’ll never see the likes of him again.