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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

Miguel Cabrera first player ever to homer off Mariano Rivera twice in a row

For the first time in his career, Mariano Rivera blew three saves in a row. The New York Yankees closer also experienced another first: he allowed consecutive home runs to the same better — Miguel Cabrera.

Rivera’s semi-struggles began on Wednesday when he surrendered an RBI single to Adam Dunn to tie the Yankees-Chicago White Sox game at four. Rivera got the first two outs of the inning before surrendering a double and RBI single. He struck out the next batters to end the inning, and then he pitched a 1-2-3 10th.

On Friday, Rivera allowed a hit to Austin Jackson and 2-run home run to Cabrera to tie the Yanks-Detroit Tigers game at three. He also gave up a double to Prince Fielder and intentionally walked Victor Martinez before getting Andy Dirks out to end the inning. The Yankees won 4-3 in 10.

The first home run allowed to Cabrera was a long at-bat that featured several foul balls. Cabrera even fouled two balls off his leg and could barely move around the bases, yet he managed to jack a fastball deep to center. Rivera was supposed to throw the pitch inside, but he missed too far out over the plate:

Mariano Rivera Miguel Cabrera

Luckily for Rivera, Brett Gardner hit a walk-off home run in the ninth to give Mo and the Yankees the win.

On Sunday, Rivera entered the ninth with the Yanks up 4-2 on Detroit. The first batter he faced was Cabrera, who took a 2-2 cutter over the middle deep to right center. Prince Fielder lined out after Miggy, and then Rivera left a cutter up to Victor Martinez, who took him out to the second deck to tie the game. It was the first time ever that Rivera had blown three straight saves, and the first time a batter homered off him twice in a row, per Elias Sports Bureau.

“To Martinez, that ball was just laying right flat up. And also with Miguel,” Rivera said after the game. “You’re facing professional hitters. If you don’t put the ball where you need to, you’re going to get hit.”

Nobody should be alarmed about Rivera “losing it” just because of this. The guy is still effective. It’s just that he wasn’t sharp against the Tigers, and the best hitter in baseball beat him twice.


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