Mariano Rivera said it never crossed his mind that his old manager was in the other dugout. He simply jogged out of the Yankees bullpen and did what he seems to always do, what he once did for Joe Torre and now does for Joe Girardi.
“(Torre) got to enjoy Mariano for 12 years,” Girardi said. “To see him come in, it was probably really strange for him thinking, he used to be on my side.”
What caught Rivera’s eye was the guy in the batter’s box: Manny Ramirez.
“It always happens,” Rivera said. “It never gets old. That’s the way it is. When you’re up there, you’re always going to face the best, and those are the moments you have to show up and do what you have to do.”
Rivera struck out the side. Ramirez, Matt Kemp and James Loney. What must Torre have thought when Rivera climbed that mound?
“Probably like ‘Oh no.’” Derek Jeter said. “He’s seen Mo have so much success. It’s really nothing new.”
Here’s Rivera speaking briefly after the game.
• CC Sabathia has now won five straight starts, and he’s gone at least seven innings in each of them. “I feel a lot better,” he said. “I feel like the fastball command has been slowly getting better. My breaking stuff has been definitely carrying me through some tough situations.”
• Tonight he mixed his fastball to both sides of the plate and he threw a lot of great breaking balls, but it was the changeup that made the difference. “He threw strikes with all his pitches,” Jorge Posada said. “We mixed in some breaking balls in there, but the changeup was the key today. We threw some fastballs in to righties, fastballs in to lefties, but the changeup was outstanding.”
• It seemed clear that Sabathia hit Vincente Padilla on purpose, but when he pointed to first base, it looked like he was apologizing or in some way trying to smooth it over. Apparently not. “I’m a grown man,” Sabathia said. “If someone has something to say, say it to me. I was just standing up there. I was just waiting. He was looking at me.”
• Alex Rodriguez’s home run was his second in the past three days and the 593rd of his career. “Power is something that I never worry about,” Rodriguez said. “I do like hitting my first-inning double, that was good contact. The power is going to be there… Right-center for me has always been a big key. It was a good way to start the game.”
• Andrew Brackman’s Double-A debut: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Not an overwhelming line, but consider that on this very same date last year, Brackman lasted only 3.1 innings in Low-A. His line: 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. He’s come a long way.
• Apparently Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully referred to Curtis Granderson as Curtis Gunderson during his first at-bat. Scully is so respected, the New York writers immediately checked their media guides to make sure we had in fact been spelling and pronouncing it correctly.
Associated Press photos of Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano celebrating, and Sabathia pitching.