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NEW YORK (AP) — Now that save No. 602 is behind him, Mariano Rivera is happy to step back out of the spotlight and work on another big number: six.
Despite five World Series championships in 17 seasons with the New York Yankees, Rivera has never come to enjoy individual attention.
“You know me, I’m not like that,” Rivera said. “I like to be under the radar, do my job.”
There was no chance of that Monday. when the smallest crowd in the three-year history of Yankee Stadium nearly drowned out Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” as Rivera came in for the ninth inning.
They hollered with every pitch — and there weren’t many of them. Rivera retired the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmelee to end the Yankees’ 6-4 win over Minnesota and break Trevor Hoffman’s mark.
Rivera even broke a bat for good measure — sawing off Parmelee and sending the rookie back to the dugout.
Parmelee lasted only one more pitch. Plate umpire John Hirschbeck rung him up, and catcher Russell Martin came out to the mound, gently placed the ball in Rivera’s glove, then gave him a big hug.
Rivera stayed and accepted congratulations — Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and finally Derek Jeter came over before the bullpen and bench got there.
Rivera tried to walk off with the rest of the Yankees, but longtime teammate Jorge Posada pushed him back onto the mound, where fans cheered him.