Rivera pitched in a nonsave situation on Friday night to close out the Yankees' 5-1 win over the Giants at Yankee Stadium. It's the first time since Aug. 20 that Rivera entered the ninth without the game being tied or having a chance to earn the save. Rivera threw a perfect inning.
"You don't want to get in a situation where they get a couple guys on and then you have to bring him in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "This way he has wiggle room, we have an off day on Monday. I figured that I can use him three days in a row."
Rivera has thrown 11 innings this month in nine appearances, which is more than he threw in all of August, including four outings where he threw more than one inning. While the Yankees have used Rivera a lot this month, Friday marked just the second time he's pitched since Sept. 12.
100 LARGE:Alfonso Soriano collected his 100th RBI of the season with his solo homer in the second inning. It's the second straight year he's reached 100 and the fourth time in his career.
Soriano has now driven in 34 runs in 25 games at Yankee Stadium this season, and has 16 homers and 49 RBIs in just 51 games with the Yankees. He finished 2-for-3, and his homer was his 33rd of the year.
CAN'T LOSE: The Yankees walked into these final nine games with no breathing room, and started off on the right foot. Girardi reiterated that the Yankees have to continue winning as they have to leap four teams to get into one of the two wild-card spots. The Yankees are just 2-5 in their past seven.
"We really needed it. I don't know if we can afford to lose any more games. That's the bottom line at this point," Girardi said. "I kind of look at every game here on out as extremely, extremely important, and we needed it."