Quintessential Mo-Ments No 3: How do you spell relief?
It was Game 2 of the ALDS against the Seattle Mariners, and after watching closer John Wetteland throw 50 pitches over 3 1/3 innings and give up a home run to Ken Griffey Jr. in the 12th, Buck Showalter called upon Mariano Rivera to stem the tide and, if the Yankees could even the game once again, go as long as he could and as long as needed.
And in that moment, the legend of “The Sandman” was truly born.
Rivera struck out Jay Buhner to end the 12th, and after Ruben Sierra tied the game again, Mo pitched three more scoreless innings – recording four more K’s along the way – and ended up earning the win when his 49-pitch performance was backed up by Jim Leyritz’s dramtic walk-off homer in the 15th.
It was the first of many, many memorable postseason moments for Rivera, but also the first glimpse that maybe, just maybe, the Yankees had a late-inning phenomenon on their hands.