Rivera, Yankees Stunned By Super-Sub Scutaro

Monday, April 16th 2007, 7:27 am

By: News On 6

By the time Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen, the New York Yankees figured they were headed for a happy conclusion to a difficult day.

Turned out, the most stunning blow was still to come.

One strike from his first save of the season, Rivera gave up a three-run homer to little Marco Scutaro that rallied the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory over New York on Sunday.

``I was shocked,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

The day began badly for his team, too. Starting pitchers Mike Mussina (strained left hamstring) and Carl Pavano (tightness in right forearm) were placed on the 15-day disabled list, further depleting a New York staff that was already missing injured ace Chien-Ming Wang.

``Nobody wants that,'' Mussina said after cutting short his throwing session because of pain in his hamstring. ``You just find a way to get through it and deal with it.

``Nobody's having surgery,'' he added. ``A couple of muscle pulls, a strain, we'll be fine.''

In other AL games, it was: Cleveland 2, Chicago 1; Toronto 2, Detroit 1; Tampa Bay 6, Minnesota 4; and Seattle 14, Texas 6. Los Angeles' game at Boston and Kansas City's game at Baltimore were postponed by rain as a heavy storm on the East Coast wreaked more havoc with the schedule.

Scutaro's two-out shot in the bottom of the ninth spoiled a strong start by Andy Pettitte, who gave the Yankees the quality outing they desperately needed. He allowed two runs _ one earned _ and five hits in seven innings.

Oakland took two of three from the Yankees after going winless in its first three series. The first two games went to extra innings, taxing both bullpens.

Rivera (1-1) blew his first save chance of the year. He got two quick outs in the ninth before Todd Walker singled for Oakland's first hit since the third inning. Jason Kendall then walked to bring up Scutaro, who was batting .050 on the season.

The diminutive backup infielder drove an 0-2 pitch from Rivera (1-1) off the screen just inside the left-field foul pole for the eighth game-ending hit of his career and second game-winning homer. The other came on Aug. 25, 2004, against Baltimore.

``I don't know about this one,'' Scutaro said. ``I can't believe it still, against Mariano. I was just praying the ball didn't go foul. You don't get that against him, you don't get many pitches to hit. The way I'm feeling at the plate right now, the last thing I thought I was going to do is hit a home run.''

It was the fourth game-ending homer against Rivera, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Cleveland's Bill Selby hit a grand slam on July 14, 2002, Boston's Bill Mueller had a two-run shot on July 24, 2004, and Toronto's Vernon Wells hit a solo drive on July 20, 2006.

``I wanted to go inside,'' Rivera said. ``It was in and over the plate.''

While many players around the majors wore No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of his debut, Rivera is the only active player in the big leagues who still wears it regularly. The number was grandfathered in in 1997 when baseball retired it.

Scutaro, who had been slated to play shortstop, was in the lineup at second base as a last-minute fill-in for ailing Mark Ellis.

``Certain types of players are born for the dramatic, and Marco Scutaro is one,'' teammate Nick Swisher said.

A's right-hander Rich Harden left with tightness in his pitching shoulder after allowing Alex Rodriguez's leadoff double in New York's three-run seventh. Harden struck out seven.

Jay Marshall (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for his first major league win.

Indians 2, White Sox 1

At Cleveland, C.C. Sabathia pitched eight overpowering innings and the Indians got only one hit _ Grady Sizemore's leadoff double in the first. Sabathia (3-0) allowed five hits, struck out 10, walked three and improved to 14-3, including 2-0 this season, in 22 starts against Chicago.

Jose Contreras (1-2) kept the game close even though the White Sox made three errors behind him and he walked five in the first four innings. Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his fifth save.

Blue Jays 2, Tigers 1

At Toronto, John McDonald drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning single and Josh Towers (1-1) allowed three hits over 7 2-3 innings to win a start for the first time since last May 14 at Tampa Bay.

Shaun Marcum worked a perfect ninth for his first career save. The Blue Jays placed closer B.J. Ryan on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained elbow.

Nate Robertson (2-1) took the loss, allowing two runs and seven hits over seven innings.

Devil Rays 6, Twins 4

At Minneapolis, Dioner Navarro hit a tiebreaking double off ace closer Joe Nathan in the ninth inning and Tampa Bay earned a split of the four-game series.

Navarro's second hit of the game snapped a 4-all tie and sent Nathan (1-1) to his first loss since September 6, 2005. Akinori Iwamura greeted Nathan with a double and scored on Navarro's double. Carlos Pena's RBI single made it 6-4.

Al Reyes struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth save. Delmon Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run homer.

Mariners 14, Rangers 6

At Seattle, Jose Vidro homered in his first two at-bats and Ichiro Suzuki had four hits.

Suzuki hit a leadoff homer and scored four times. Vidro finished with three hits and four RBIs. Adrian Beltre also homered for Seattle and drove in four runs.

Ian Kinsler hit his sixth home run for the Rangers. Horacio Ramirez (1-0) beat Brandon McCarthy (1-2), who was tagged for six runs and six hits in two innings.

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