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Quintessential Mo-Ments No. 30: Back to the big stage

09/18/2013 9:04 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Game 6 of the 2009 ALCS wasn't just another two-inning save for Mariano Rivera.(AP)
The Yankees hadn’t been to a World Series in six years, so with a 3-2 series lead in the 2009 ALCS and a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning of Game 6, Joe Girardi wasn’t taking any chances.

Calling upon Mariano Rivera, who had already pitched five innings in the first five games, for a six-out save might have been risky, but Girardi felt it was his best option. Many may have questioned that thought after Rivera allowed a Vlad Guerrero RBI single in the eighth to cut the Yankees’ lead in half, but in the end, there was no doubt.

After some defensive miscues by the Angels in the top of the ninth pushed the Yankees’ lead back to 5-2, there was likely no one who didn't think that “The Sandman” would put the Halos to sleep once and for all. Indeed, 13 pitches later, Rivera struck out pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. with a nasty cutter, and the Yankees had their 40th American League pennant in the bag.

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