walked down off the mound, took a few more steps toward the plate and began the evening with a nice, soft toss.
He ended it in much more familiar fashion, with a hard fastball for strike three.
Rivera started what he finished and the
New York Yankees
, helped by
's go-ahead double in the eighth inning, beat the
8-5 Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.
In a sight rarely seen in baseball, an active player threw out the ceremonial first ball. Rivera was honored for earning his
500th career save Sunday, and his teammates applauded while the Mariners came to the top step of the dugout to pay their respects.
''As soon as I got here they told me,'' Rivera said. ''I think everybody had fun with that.''
Said Yankees manager
: ''I told him he should throw it out left-handed.''
Once Cabrera's hit put the Yankees ahead, Rivera went to work. He pitched a perfect ninth, striking out
for his 19th save in 20 chances.
''I told the guys, 'I might throw the first and the last one, too,''' Rivera said moments after the final out.
hit his 565th career homer and Cabrera drove in three runs. The Yankees won their ninth in a row at home over Seattle, a streak
dating to 2007.
Major league batting leader
got two hits and stole three bases for the Mariners.
Cabrera, with a knack for key hits late in games, lined an RBI double off
began the eighth with a double,
bunted for a single and Cabrera delivered again.
''He's thrived in that situation. He's had a lot of wins for us,'' Girardi said.
The Yankees got three hits on three straight pitches from White.
''It's the first time I've really seen Whitey struggle out there. Very rarely do you see that out of him,'' Mariners manager
said. ''They can put up a lot of runs on the board in a hurry.''
capped the burst with a two-run single. He was among the Yankees who applauded when Rivera threw the first ball, a ceremony
usually reserved for former greats.
''Might be a first, right?'' Jeter said.
(3-0) got the win despite giving up two runs in the eighth that made it 5-all.
hit an RBI single and
had a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Rodriguez launched his 12th homer of the season in the seventh for a 5-3 lead. He immediately tossed aside his bat after the
tiebreaking two-run shot.
The Mariners are the AL's worst-fielding team and hours after two-time Gold Glove third baseman
had shoulder surgery, replacement
made two errors on one play to help New York take a 2-0 lead in the second.
With runners on first and second, Woodward bobbled a slow grounder by Matsui for the first mistake. He then skipped a throw
past first that let one run score, and another came home on Cabrera's sacrifice fly.
, batting only .133, homered in the Seattle third. As is their way under bullpen coach
, the Mariners relievers all met to high-five the occasion.
Seattle tied it at 3 in the fifth. Suzuki led off with a single and stole his way around to third, setting up RBI singles
by Branyan and Gutierrez.
In a matchup of setup men who were converted to starters, neither pitcher went deep.
went 5 1-3 innings for the Yankees while winless
lasted just 4 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo was on the field, clutching a football and chatting with Jeter and other Yankees before
rain cut short batting practice. Romo brought a guest - 10-year-old leukemia patient Ben Grant of Albany, N.Y. Asked his favorite
teams, the boy said the Yankees, Cowboys and New York Giants. ''No, not the Giants!'' Romo said in mock distress. ... The
Yankees acquired utilityman
and cash from Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers. Bad weather delayed Hinske's flight to New York. ... There was a 61-minute
rain delay at the start.