Mariano Rivera often looks superhuman.
Occasionally he resembles some of baseball’s lesser closers. And an even more rare instance is when Rivera gives up a bases-loaded walk and a grand slam, especially in the same game.
If you had a ticket for yesterday’s 6-3 loss to the Twins, you witnessed a rare type of Rivera history. The man considered to be greatest closer of all time allowed a run-scoring walk to Jim Thome, followed by a Jason Kubel slam with two outs in the eighth.
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It was a stunning turn of events for the Yankees, who had a short bullpen and asked Rivera to get four outs for the first time in 2010. It was also Rivera’s first save situation since April 30 — and just his third appearance due to a minor injury in his left side earlier this month.
Regardless of those available excuses, Rivera remained accountable, as usual, and was more disappointed with the walk.
“To me walking in the run,” Rivera said, “you got control of that.
“A home run, anything can happen.”
Rivera began looking human when he fell behind Thome 3-0. After getting to a full count, he issued his first bases-loaded walk since May 6, 2005, against Oakland’s Keith Ginter.
“I just fell behind,” Rivera said. “I was trying to make sure that I don’t give him a good pitch to hit the ball.”
Two pitches later, Kubel sent a 1-0 fastball over the right field wall — the second grand slam against Rivera since he became a closer. The other was a game-ending home run by Bill Selby eight years ago.
“It is startling because he’s been so great,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s been great for us this year and today he didn’t have it.”