Needing to be at his best in his final start at Yankee Stadium, Andy Pettitte took the ball in a big game, like he had done so many times in his career, and delivered an outing that was vintage Andy Pettitte. The left hander held the Giants hitless through six innings and exited in the 8th having surrendered just two runs on two hits. His only other blemish on the afternoon was a fifth-inning walk to Pablo Sandoval. He left to a standing ovation and was greeted at the top step by his longtime teammate Derek Jeter. The two had a long embrace that, no doubt, sent chills through every Yankee fan. His teammates hugged him as he made his way to an open spot on the bench and the crowd chanted his name until Pettitte gave them the curtain call they desired. A beloved figure and cornerstone of the Yankees’ latest dynasty had pitched for the last time in the Bronx. And he delivered as only “Old Reliable” could deliver.
Despite it not being his customary role, fans got what they came to see when Mariano Rivera entered the game with one out in the eighth inning. In typical Mariano fashion, he was brilliant. Breaking bats and even showing rare emotion after getting the Giants’ Hunter Pence to ground into an inning ending double play. It was fitting to see Rivera come in prior to the ninth when the Yankees needed such a performance. It hearkened back to so many big games in the past when Joe Torre, and more recently Joe Girardi, would call on his closer to get more than the customary three outs on chilly October nights. On a day when the Yankees recognized just how important their closer was to their franchise’s success, Rivera delivered a performance befitting his stature in the game.
Yesterday brought back a lot of great memories for Yankee fans. For Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, it was a chance to say thank you. They did so as only Yankee players know how — by delivering pitching performances that brought all of those memories to the forefront with vivid clarity for just one more day.