D-backs' bullpen snaps late vs. Yanks
LaRoche's five RBIs forgotten; rally in 10th inning falls short
PHOENIX -- In some ways, it was a familiar scene -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound at Chase Field, trying to fight his way out of a jam to close out a win.
Only this wasn't Game 7 of the 2001 World Series and the result wasn't nearly to the D-backs' liking, as they were unable to cash in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the 10th inning and wound up falling, 6-5, to the Yankees on Wednesday night.
"It was quite a finish," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "You can't ask for anything more than [facing] Mariano Rivera with the bases loaded and no outs and down by one. I felt good about the position in the order that we were in."
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With Rivera working his second inning, Stephen Drew led off the 10th with a broken-bat single to right and Justin Upton followed with a double to the left-field corner to put runners at second and third. Rivera then intentionally walked Miguel Montero to load the bases.
"We had him on the ropes," Arizona outfielder Chris Young said. "Bases loaded with no outs, you have to find a way to get them in."
So was Rivera flashing back to the ninth inning of that epic World Series game in which he blew a one-run lead as the D-backs won in the bottom of the ninth?
"It's 2010, you know?" Rivera said. "All I wanted to get is three outs. I had two men on base -- second and third and no outs. That definitely wasn't a factor."
After loading the bases, the right-hander got Young to foul out to the catcher and jammed Adam LaRoche, forcing a popout to third. Rivera then fanned Mark Reynolds to end the game.
"Nothing is that easy, but you just trust," Rivera said. "You've got to make your pitches. You've got them still by one run, so you still have a chance."
The D-backs did not have as much success giving a 5-4 lead to their closer, Aaron Heilman, in the ninth.
Heilman, who recently took over the closer role from the struggling Chad Qualls, walked the first two batters he faced, and after a groundout from Mark Teixeira advanced the runners, Alex Rodriguez drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Walks were a problem all night long for D-backs pitchers, who issued 13 free passes.
"It's frustrating," Heilman said. "They didn't get a hit in the inning and still were able to get a run across. You can't come in and walk guys -- you've got to do a better job of getting the first guy out. It was a good team effort today. Unfortunately, I feel like I came up a little bit short.
"I should have nailed that down and come away with a victory. I think I would rather give up a home run and at least make them hit the ball and put it in play than give them two free passes in one inning. Especially late in the game, you just can't have that."
After Rivera retired the D-backs in order in the ninth, Curtis Granderson led off the 10th with a homer off Carlos Rosa to give the Yankees the 6-5 advantage they would keep.
The deflation in Arizona's dugout turned to optimism when the club loaded the bases against Rivera.
Especially with Young -- who has been one of the D-backs' best hitters all year -- and LaRoche -- who had driven in all five Arizona runs to that point -- coming up. In addition, Reynolds leads the team with 17 homers.
"He's the best in the game -- what are you going to say?" Heilman said of Rivera.
"I felt good about the position in the order that we were in," Hinch said. "That's why he's the best ever. He's the best ever at his craft. Try to scratch and claw one [run] any way you can and get greedy and get two, and we're celebrating and walking off with a victory and a series win. So it's quite a range of emotions and just a terrible loss -- a terrible feeling of a loss."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.