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Mariano Rivera blows save as Carlos Pena plays hero in first game back with Rays

Apr 6, 2012, 7:29 PM EST

Carlos Pena Reuters Reuters

Craig mentioned earlier how Joe Girardi’s over-managing in the first inning resulted in Carlos Pena hitting a grand slam against CC Sabathia. Well, Pena wasn’t doing playing hero in his first game back in Tampa Bay.

The Yankees actually rallied back from the early deficit, handing the ball to all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera with a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth. However, he quickly gave up a single to Desmond Jennings and a triple to Ben Zobrist to erase the lead. Girardi then called for back-to-back intentional walks to Evan Longoria and Luke Scott to load the bases and set up the force play. Rivera was able to get Sean Rodriguez swinging for the first out of the inning, but then Pena hit a long fly ball to left field which Brett Gardner let fall for the game-winning hit. It was a 7-6 walk-off win for the Rays in a thrilling opener.

Couldn’t imagine a better homecoming for Pena, but something tells me we’ll get at least a couple “Is Mariano Finally Done?” columns on our doorstep tomorrow. Suckers.

  1. losangelasbasketball - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Trevor Hoffman is relaxing in San Diego sipping a mai tai….

    • phillyphever - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      Overrated *clap-clap-clapclapclap*.

      • js20011041 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:54 PM

        Says a fan of the team that just gave a closer $50 million.

      • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:13 PM

        They should trade him while they can.

      • phillyphever - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:58 PM

        Hoffman’s retired (the guy I called overrated).

      • js20011041 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:07 PM

        And my comment still stands. All closers are overrated. Singling one out to call overrated is kind of silly. It’s like picking on the least athletic kid at a fat camp.

      • phillyphever - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        Oh really, ask the Braves during their run how many WS they would have won if they had a legit closer. The Phillies wouldn’t have won the WS if Lidge wasn’t closing in 2008.

      • js20011041 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:18 PM

        I’m not saying that closers have no value. But given the way they are currently used, they are worth nowhere near the money they are payed. If managers stopped using their relievers to play to the save rule, you might have an argument, but not with their current usage pattern.

  2. drewzducks - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Bailey would have closed it out. Nevermind.

  3. gotampabay52 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Good Friday well anyday beating NY is a good day tis the season to say redsox suck and new york as well your chicks aren’t as hot as ours tis the season

    • Gonzo - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Your comma and period keys are broken.

    • cur68 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      urteamsux52! How are you my friend? Well done on the capitals for “Good Friday” & “NY”. I see you are making use of spell check. This is good. Hit that period key now, right at the end of every complete thought. Looks like you could maybe have a go with the exclamation mark (its on the number ‘1’ key. Hold ‘shift’ and type ‘1’ when you really want to finish a sentence with a bit of fire). Lookin’ better there, buddy.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        Grammar Police have spoken!

      • 24missed - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        You just keep rockin’ away!

        urteamsux52 had a different name before right? Bozos?

        Is urteamsux52 speaking for all RS and NYY women that live
        in those cities only? Or is urteamsux including RS and NYY
        female fans that live throughout the world? Female fans live in other
        countries, I’m thinking Canada, perhaps. Some of us live in
        other cities or small towns in the U.S., some females might even live in
        Tampa!

        Thanks for doing the right thing as usual, hot stuff.

      • cur68 - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:21 PM

        This guy gotampabay52 is, I believe, the same commenter (a rays fan) from last season who went by the handle “urteamsux52″. He was a master of illiteracy, trolling, and a trenchant lack of punctuation. He is my new HBT Mission. I will teach this guy to spell, use periods, and be semi-coherent. Can’t do a thing about the trolling but at least I can make it understandable. So far he’s found his shift key, spell checker and right click. Now we must find our period key, Mr. Comma, and Mr. Exclamation Mark. Hoo-rah!

  4. ahmiller21 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    ^What???????

  5. proudlycanadian - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Rivera is human? Who would have thunk it? Yesterday when Perez blew the save in Cleveland, many including Rotoworld were claiming that it was time for a new closer in Cleveland. However, I assume that Rivera will get well deserved a free pass on this outing.

  6. proudlycanadian - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    P.S. Boston and NY are tied for last place in the AL East.

  7. 24missed - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Congrats to Pena!

    This loss really shouldn’t fall on Rivera, it was all about Girardi. I hate intentional walks; they always come back to bite you in the arse.

    • js20011041 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Honestly, in that situation, I’m not really sure the walks do anything to hurt you other than not allow for an unintentional walk. With the winning run on third and no one out, you need a minor miracle to keep that run from scoring. I actually think the intentional walk gets a little bit of a bad rap. Yes, it’s overused and often used incorrectly, but it can be a useful tool in the right situation.

      • 24missed - Apr 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        I hate the intentional walk. Hate. But, that’s me. I hyperventilate when I see the RS put someone on base. The guy that sucks that the Sox always try to get to somehow, somehow manages to make the difference in a tight situation.

        The other thing is that this is Rivera. He is there for those tight moments and even this RS fan has faith that Rivera could have struck ‘em all out and then some.

        Girardi of little faith and a RS fan of more faith? What is wrong with this picture?

    • hittfamily - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:38 PM

      Of course you walk the bases loaded in that situation. A bobbled ball can still beat Zobrist to home, but not if a tag is required. You have to hope Rivera can get a ground ball, and if he does, you get to play one more out. If there is no force, you now have to hope for a swipe tag at the plate, or your catcher holding on after being run over.

      Even Beill James walks the guys to get to Pena in both situations.

      • 24missed - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        See your third sentence. You are looking for hope. I can’t believe I am saying this to you, hittfamily, but I have hope and faith. Counting blessings on having Rivera for a closer would be the equivalent of identifying the reasoning why the RS aquired the players they did in the off-season. Character? Vincente Padilla. Improvement in Right Field? Ryan Sweeny. Bullpen? Ummm. Count the blessings of Rivera.

        Walking the bases loaded? Geez, Andrew Miller is awesome at that and they don’t have to be intentional.

        Your scenario is interesting and I respect it, though the Bill James thing wasn’t nice.
        Just joshing.

    • cur68 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      Oh I’ll bite your…ahem. I mean yes, it is a bit of a pain when that intentional walk happens, 24.

      • 24missed - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        This is why I am so grateful for my HBT boyfriend.

  8. jason9696 - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    It’s never a bad day when the Yankees lose.

  9. hittfamily - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Let fall? The outfield was in, and it hit off the wall. Not even Carl Lewis was tracking that one down.

    • hittfamily - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      Oh yeah…. They brought in a fifth infielder, so they only had 2 outfielders.

  10. Ben - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    All vapor attacks aside, there does have to be a time when Rivera isn’t flat-out amazing, right? Right?

  11. kcredneck - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    settle down there in cuba,oops, tampa, its only one game papi. lets see who makes the playoffs. thank you sports fans.

  12. hittfamily - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    2 in a row between these teams (going back to last year’s miracle 162), that involved one team taking a huge lead early, blowing a save, hitting a grand slam, losing on a walk off, and the red Sox are 1 game behind the Rays at the end of it.

    • cmcgly - Apr 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      I know grabbing a wild card spot is banner worthy for rays fans, I’m happy for you

  13. shavodog1 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    @kcredneck u obviously don’t know much about fla, Miami is little Cuba not Tampa. And judging by your statement your prob a bandwagon Yankees fan from kansas city, but I understand since kc hasn’t won shit in three decades…

    • hittfamily - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      The Colonel won the jackpot when John Lackey signed for over 100 mil. Oh crap. KC / KFC, I get em confused.

  14. cmcgly - Apr 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I remember thinking Rivera was done when he blew his first save opportunity of the season like 5 years ago. Coming from a Red Sox fan, this guy is once in a lifetime, I don’t care what anybody says

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