ONE AWAY FROM ALL-TIME RECORD
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera didn't want to draw too much attention upon himself for recording his 601st career save, tying the all-time mark held by Trevor Hoffman, on Saturday at Toronto. He asked that it be treated as a "normal" game.
In his 17th season with the Yankees, the 41-year-old pitched a perfect ninth inning and will now be able to set the record at home when the team opens up an eight-game homestand today.
With his wife and two youngest sons in attendance, Rivera struck out Colby Rasmus to start the inning and then got Brett Lawrie out on a broke-bat grounder to first base. Eric Thames then flew out to center to end the game.
Rivera didn't show much emotion, bowed his head down and accepted a handshake from his catcher, Russell Martin.
“I am uncomfortable because I don’t have this much attention at all. I would like you guys to just leave it alone. That would be good,” Rivera said.
PUJOLS' SHOT SETS THE TONE
While anything can practically happen in a week, it's a far fetched idea that St. Louis will catch the Brewers in the NL Central. The Cardinals trail Milwaukee by 6 1-2 games so the next best thing will be to overtake Atlanta for the NL Wild Card spot.
With the Braves losing to the New York Mets on Sunday, Albert Pujols gave the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run shot. The Cardinals went on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0, and are now just 3 1-2 games behind the Braves and have won nine of their last 11 games.
The Cardinals will wrap up their four-game set against the Phillies tonight but will be facing Roy Halladay while the Braves open up a three-game series at Florida tonight. Atlanta will then travel to Washington for three games and return home to host the Phillies for three games as well.
The Cardinals have the Mets at home for three games beginning Tuesday night followed by a three-game set versus the Cubs at home as well this weekend. They finish the season on the road at Houston.
“We just need to take one day at a time.We took today’s game. Flip the page and hopefully come tomorrow and try to win the series,” Pujols told reporters after the game.
SOX LEAD OVER RAYS SLIPPING AWAY
On Aug, 30, the Red Sox held a 1 1-2 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East but have gone on to have lost 14 of their last 19 games and now trail New York by 4 1-2 games.
So they will likely turn to their arch rivals for some help this week before their three-game showdown in the Bronx that starts on Friday.
The Rays will start a four-game set on Tuesday at New York against the Yankees while the Red Sox are hosting the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game series that starts today with a day-night doubleheader.
While David Ortiz has hurt the Yankees plenty of time, he'd surely welcome their help over the next few days.
“The Yankees have been playing good against everybody,” Ortiz said. “We’ll see what happens.”
BEEN A LONG TIME COMING IN MOTOWN
Jose Valverde's 45 straight of the season secured the Tigers' first division title for the time in almost 25 years.
With a 3-1 lead, Valverde entered in the ninth inning and gave up a double to Oakland's Coco Crisp. He then settled down and struck out Jemile Week looking and retired Hideki Matsui. Josh Willingham's grounder to third set off an celebration on the field as the Tigers won their first AL Central division title.
It's the first trip to the playoffs for the Tigers since winning the AL wild card in 2006 and losing to St. Louis in the World Series. They won the AL East in 1987, three years after beating the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
GIANT ADDITION OUT WEST
Aside from the great pitching already out in San Francisco, Carlos Beltran told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday that he would put in his two cents if the Giants asked him about going after Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Beltran will be a free agent after this season and knows that he and the rest of his teammates would need help.
“The first option for this team should be finding a guy who’s a little batter,” Beltran said. “Then, if you want to add another bat, I could be the second option."
"He's a great guy," Beltran said. "A lot of people look at him playing around and jumping around and think he's not serious about the game."
That guy works hard better than any person in baseball. He shows up and plays hard. He's an unbelievable player, a guy who makes a difference on a team, offensively, defensively, on the base paths."
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.