Baseball's most acclaimed relief pitcher made an emotional exit in his final appearance in the Yankees' home pinstripes, when captain Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came to the mound to remove him with two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
"It's time to go," Jeter appeared to tell Rivera.
Tampa Bay won its seventh straight and leads the AL wild-card race.
During four minutes of thunderous chanting from the sellout crowd 48,675, an overcome Rivera sobbed as he buried his head on the shoulder of Pettitte and then hugged Jeter.
It was an extraordinary sight in a sport where a manager almost always goes to the mound to make a pitching change. Yankees manager Joe Girardi checked with the umpires to make certain Jeter, who is on the disabled list, could take part.
"I was so thankful they came out," Rivera said after the game.
Rivera, who retired four straight batters, wiped his eyes with both arms as he walked off and blew a kiss to the first row behind the Yankees dugout. He hugged a tearful Girardi in the dugout, grabbed a towel to dab the tears, and came out again and doffed his cap to the crowd. All the while, the Rays remained in their dugout applauding.
INDIANS 6, TWINS 5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reliever Joe Smith struck out pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia to end a ninth-inning rally and Cleveland won its seventh straight game, holding off Minnesota to keep pace in the AL wild-card race.
The Twins scored four runs in the ninth and had runners on first and second before Smith got the final out.
Cleveland leads Texas by one game for the second wild-card spot. Each team has three games left in the regular season. Tampa Bay is on top in the chase, one game ahead of the Indians.
Yan Gomes hit a towering two-run homer and Michael Brantley added three hits and two RBIs from the leadoff spot.
Bryan Shaw (7-3) picked up the victory in relief of Zach McAllister by getting five key outs over the fifth and sixth innings.
RANGERS 6, ANGELS 5
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar homered leading off the ninth inning and Texas overcame a four-error inning to beat Los Angeles and stay in the playoff chase.
The Rangers are a game behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
It was the fourth straight time the Rangers have beaten the Angels on a walk-off homer at home. They did it each time in a three-game sweep in late July.
Joe Nathan (6-2) got the win after striking out two with a runner at third and one out in the top of the ninth.
Profar's sixth homer came off Michael Kohn (1-4).
ROYALS 3, WHITE SOX 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings, and David Lough hit a two-run homer to lead Kansas City to victory over Chicago.
One day after being eliminated from the post-season, the Royals earned their 84th win, their most since 1993.
The Royals' 6-0 loss to Seattle on Wednesday, combined with victories from all three teams ahead of them in the AL wild-card standings, officially eliminated them from playoff contention.
Guthrie (15-12) became the Royals' third 15-game winner since 1997. He gave up two runs and four hits, striking out four and allowing one walk. Guthrie already surpassed his career best win total when he won his 12th on Aug. 5 against the Twins.
ORIOLES 3, BLUE JAYS 2
BALTIMORE (AP) — Miguel Gonzalez pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Matt Wieters homered and drove in two runs, and Baltimore beat Toronto.
Nick Markakis had two hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who won the season series 10-9. Baltimore is 13-5 at Camden Yards against the Blue Jays since the start of the 2012 season.
Gonzalez (11-8) allowed one unearned run, struck out five and walked one. The only hits were a single by Kevin Pillar in the third inning and a double by J.P. Arencibia in the seventh.
Gonzalez retired 13 straight batters at one point. It was the first game this season in which the right-hander didn't give up a run.