Flushing, NY – Mariano Rivera was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch in his final scheduled appearance at Citi Field. His final one wasn't as joyous an occasion for the legendary closer, however.
The New York Mets came through with three consecutive hits against Rivera during a two-run ninth-inning rally that gave the club a dramatic 2-1 victory over the crosstown-rival New York Yankees and a sweep of the two-game interleague set.
Daniel Murphy greeted Rivera (0-1) with a bloop double down the left-field line in the bottom of the ninth and David Wright followed with a single up the middle to bring home the tying run. Lucas Duda then dropped in a base hit to right that plated Wright and gave the Mets their first three-game win streak since April 6-8.
"I've struggled lately, there's no going around it," Duda admitted. "I got jammed and it went over (Robinson) Cano's head and we scored."
Remarkably, each of the Mets' last six triumphs have come in their last at- bat. They downed the Yankees by a 2-1 count in Monday's opener on Murphy's tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Mets honored the retiring Rivera by having him toss the ceremonial pregame offering to his former counterpart on the other side of town, John Franco, but weren't as gracious in handing the 43-year-old his first blown save in 19 chances this season.
"That's the game of baseball, anything can happen," Rivera said of his blown save. "It happened quick."
The comeback also resulted in the Bronx Bombers' first three-game slide of the year heading into Wednesday's matchup between the teams at Yankee Stadium.
Huroki Kuroda put Rivera in position for a happy ending by spinning seven shutout innings in which the veteran yielded a mere four singles while striking out seven without a walk in a duel with Mets ace Matt Harvey.
Harvey held his own as well, giving up just one run on six hits and fanning 10 with no walks over eight impressive frames. Scott Rice (3-3) recorded the win after holding the Yankees scoreless in the top of the ninth.
Murphy, Wright and Duda each finished 2-for-4 for the Mets, with Brett Gardner collecting two hits for the Yankees and scoring their only run on a Lyle Overbay single.
Rivera received a warm ovation from the enemy crowd upon taking the mound with a 1-0 lead in the ninth, but the cheers grew louder after Murphy was able to slide into second after his fly ball fell in just inside fair ground. Wright then muscled a ball into center field to pull the Mets even, and Duda was able to fight off a cutter that found its way into the outfield as Wright raced home from second.
Though the fans had to sit through a rain delay of an hour and 31 minutes for the anticipated pitcher's duel between Harvey and Kuroda to begin, both starting hurlers were able to live up to their advance billing once the game did commence.
Harvey, a Connecticut native who grew up rooting for the Yankees as a child, permitted just a pair of third-inning singles before Gardner laced a base hit to open the sixth with the contest still scoreless, and a misplay by Mets right fielder Marlon Byrd allowed the Yankees' leadoff man to take second on the play.
After a Robinson Cano grounder moved Gardner to third, Harvey got Vernon Wells to pop up in foul ground, but the phenom couldn't prevent Overbay from delivering a sharp single up the middle to knock in the night's first run.
The single was the first hit surrendered by Harvey in 13 at-bats this season with runners in scoring position and two out.
Kuroda, meanwhile, set down 14 of the next 15 hitters after Murphy and Wright had consecutive one-out singles in the first. The streak ended when Ruben Tejada reached on a Cano error to start the bottom of the sixth, but the Yankees kept the shutout bid intact with two outstanding defensive plays.
Gardner, who robbed Murphy of a home run with a leaping catch in Monday's meeting, ran down the latter's deep fly to center to negate a potential extra- base hit. Tejada later took second on a passed ball, but was picked off by Kuroda shortly afterward to erase the would-be tying run and prompt an ejection of Mets manager Terry Collins, who took umbrage of second base umpire Adrian Johnson initially ruling Tejada safe.
The Yankees had a chance to extend the margin after back-to-back singles from Cano and Wells placed runners at the corners with two out in the eighth, but Harvey got Overbay to fly out to keep it a 1-0 score.
The Mets' six consecutive wins in their final at-bat established a new franchise record. They did it in five straight from May 13-June 2, 1989 ... Rivera pitched in his 1,072nd career game, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for fourth place all-time ... The Yankees announced prior to the game that first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist) and third baseman Kevin Youkilis (back) will both begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton on Wednesday ... The Yankees activated reliever Joba Chamberlain (oblique) from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, while designating recently acquired lefty David Huff for assignment .... Murphy is batting .397 (25-for-63) over his last 16 games.